Haunting Photos That Challenge Trophy Hunting in South Africa

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Last year, the widespread backlash over the killing of a 13-year-old Southwest African lion named Cecil by a wealthy white dentist prompted discussions about poaching, trophy hunting, animal rights, and racial/class inequality. In his newest body of work, South African photographer and filmmaker Ralph Ziman addresses some of these issues in a series of photographs and sculptures. The artworks are on view at C.A.V.E. Gallery in Venice, California through March 5.

A statement from the gallery tells us more about the big-game hunts Ziman makes reference to in his works:

‘Canned hunts’ — often hosted on South African reserves — involve visitors paying large sums of money to kill some of the world’s most rare and precious animals. A culture of killing exists amongst the locals as well, with numerous species being used for medicine, which is bought and sold at South African Voodoo marketplaces. Having witnessed many of these practices, Ziman’s work actively speaks out against the global value of profit over protection of endangered animals.

The skeletons in Ziman’s photos are resin casts of local animals (chimps, giraffes, and wildebeests included). They are shrouded in colorful beads (over 80 pounds, requiring the help of five people to complete) and staged in each animal’s habitat. See more of Ziman’s haunting photos that challenge the state of trophy hunting in our gallery.

©Ralph Ziman, courtesy of C.A.V.E. Gallery

©Ralph Ziman, courtesy of C.A.V.E. Gallery

©Ralph Ziman, courtesy of C.A.V.E. Gallery

©Ralph Ziman, courtesy of C.A.V.E. Gallery

©Ralph Ziman, courtesy of C.A.V.E. Gallery

©Ralph Ziman, courtesy of C.A.V.E. Gallery

©Ralph Ziman, courtesy of C.A.V.E. Gallery

©Ralph Ziman, courtesy of C.A.V.E. Gallery

©Ralph Ziman, courtesy of C.A.V.E. Gallery

©Ralph Ziman, courtesy of C.A.V.E. Gallery