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Borneo Twenty Ten

My Photo scholarship 2010 entry

Malaysia | Monday, 16 August 2010 | 4 photos

Whilst doing volunteer work with orangutans in Borneo I was overwhelmed by the conflict that existed between humans and other primates as we continually encroach into their environment for our own economic purposes. I wanted my pictures to show the similarities between us and them, as this is often disregarded and their importance forgotten amidst the push for the constant development of human settlement and lifestyle.

The photo of the orangutan surrounded by gawking humans tells me two things. The first is that many people are fascinated by these creatures and are dedicated to help fight for their survival. The second is the conflict between the tourism required to raise funds for their future and the disturbance this places on their way of life. The way the mother orangutan has her back turned to shield her baby shows her discomfort with the crowd.

The portrait is of a rehabilitated Orangutan called Yoda. I don't know how anyone could look into his face and not feel akin or say it wasn't worth protecting.

I liked this picture of the Proboscis monkey and the lady on the bench as I felt it has a sense of harmony.There is also a sense of waiting and looking forward. Unless there is a change in attitudes and practices there will be very few of these primates left. There was a wisdom in the eyes and gestures of this male proboscis that suggested to me it understood that trials that faced it. I think this sensitivity has been captured in the portrait.

It is my wish to be able to use photography to capture the struggles between human lifestyle and the other species and environments that inhabit this globe, and maybe help shift practices down a more sustainable and harmonious path. I think this competition would help me find the outlets and audience I'm reaching for.

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