"Jaschinski isn’t really a wildlife photographer – she’s a fighter who uses her camera as a weapon in a battle to reclaim our essential respect for her beloved animals." -- Sublime Magazine
[Animals were there at the beginning of art. But how did we get from Chauvet to "Dogs Playing Poker" and beyond? That's one of the questions 13.7 will be asking with this month's series, "Ars Animalis"—art of the animals.]
Across the globe, millions of wild animals are currently suffering in captivity, whether in zoos, circuses or amusement parks. One doesn't need to be an animal rights activist to recognize that such confinement is wrong.
For many years, London-based German photographer Britta Jaschinski has used her art as a way to share this message with the world. Her love of animals started at a young age, having decided to become a vegetarian at the age of 16. While a student of photography at Bournemouth College of Art and Design, Jaschinski was walking through Regent's Park when she noticed the smell of animals emanating from the London Zoo. The rest, as they say, is history.
"Even as a kid I felt uncomfortable going to zoos but I could never express why," she says, in an article in Sublime Magazine. "While other kids licked ice creams and laughed at the animals, I just felt an intense pain in mind and body. And when I developed my photos I could see why I felt so deeply depressed about the fate of the animals incarcerated in the name of education and conservation. My Zoobook was the result."
Published by Phaidon Press in 1996, Zoo is a serious, melancholic work, full of images that are beautiful and heartwrenching.
According to the Amazon.com review, Jaschinski "lets her stark black-and-white compositions stand without commentary; viewers are left to form their own opinions. Among these dark and unsettling images of animals behind bars is a haunting--and nearly heart-breaking--picture of a decidedly unhappy gibbon, imploring the camera to free him from captivity. Words could only diminish its impact."
Click here to visit Britta Jaschinski's website.
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image: Captive polar bear in zoo, by Britta Jaschinski