The image is stunning and has all the elements required for a wildlife portrait. I love the fact the photographer has chosen to show a good portion of the rainforest in which these animals live. Often portraits are cropped too tight and lose the environmental narrative. The light, especially on the adult, is perfect and not only lights up the animal’s face and eye and the distinctive blue nose, but also lifts the texture of the monkey’s fur such that it gives the impression you can reach out and touch it. The baby provides a narrative and a sense of scale to the image.
I have also chosen to focus on an image of another primate. The winner of the Behaviour: mammals category Richardo Nunez Montero is also an animal portrait with a heart-breaking narrative.
The image entitled Kuhirwa mourns her baby features a mountain gorilla from Uganda that has lost her baby but continues to carry the tiny corpse with her.
The eyes of the mother are fixed on the corpse in quiet contemplation and her face is framed by her arm. The vegetation of the forest also provides a frame and gives context to where this drama is being played out. The fur is well-rendered in what is a challenging environment in which to shoot.
They are two stunning images and the second one: Kuhirwa Mourns her Baby reminds me of your own series of the Oran Utan nursing her dying infant. In those images, we see the trace of our own humanity as we face tragedy and loss. In many ways I think your images are more successful than Montero’s – beautiful and haunting as they are – yours reflect the suffering mother with much greater potency and are, I think outstanding and deserve a far greater audience.
Thank you. I hadn’t thought of that. I think my photographs record the baby hanging on to the slender threads of life and as such there is very engaging interaction between the mother and baby. In Montero’s shot there is no interaction but the heart-wrenching reality of grief.