Poignant Photos of Animals Contemplating Life in Zoos

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People have argued about the education and conservation benefits of zoos for ages. One observer on the matter is artist Daniel Zakharov, who we first learned about on My Modern Met. He started his Modern Wilderness series as a way to “focus on the strange and bizarre daily life of animals.” He writes on his website: “Nowadays animals are born in captivity, between concrete, tiling, cement-slab buildings, and artificial landscapes instead of the endless stretch of nature. In the meantime the zoo has become home for the animals, and they have lost the memory of their ancestral breeding grounds.”

It can be easy to anthropomorphize animals, but the striking photos do raise questions about place, memory, and instinct. The zoo-kept creatures appear to be lost in a moment of contemplation or confusion about their existence. It’s hard to say if they’re content with their surroundings, but Zakharov’s photos add to the ongoing discussions about animals in captivity.

Photo credit: Daniel Zakharov

Photo credit: Daniel Zakharov

Photo credit: Daniel Zakharov

Photo credit: Daniel Zakharov

Photo credit: Daniel Zakharov

Photo credit: Daniel Zakharov

Photo credit: Daniel Zakharov

Photo credit: Daniel Zakharov

Photo credit: Daniel Zakharov

Photo credit: Daniel Zakharov