PORTFOLIOS: Primate Portraits - LIKE US
The majority of apes and monkeys I photographed were privately cared for, contributing to the diversity of relationships, environments, and personal possessions in the photographs.
I incorporated elements from paintings, illustrations and my fantasy images into the photographs and tried to show each primate as a unique individual, with a distinct personality. I usually photographed within three feet of each primate, with a 35mm lens, never through bars or plexi-glass cages. I made friends with the primates and made subsequent visits. Developing a relationship was essential to capture the intensity of eye contact, which shows a consciousness of me.
I sought moments and edited for photographs that do not represent the everyday world of monkeys and apes in captivity, but my dream world of primates. Meeting the vast variety of primates and encountering the generosity of the owners, anthropologists and keepers was the experience of a lifetime.
The Primate Portrait Series was published as a book by W.W. Norton & Company, NYC, 1993. A limited edition of 200 sleeved books in black linen with a 5x7 photograph were also produced. I am grateful to Jim Mairs, my editor at Norton for taking a chance on my project and writing the book's forward in LIKE US: Primate Portraits.
The New Jersey State Council on the Arts and the Seagull Oriental Photographic Paper Company partially funded this project. Photographs from this series are in the collection of The Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Brooklyn Museum of Art, The National Museum of American Art / Smithsonian Institute, The San Francisco Museum of Art, The New Orleans Museum of Art, The Chrysler Museum of Art and The Bibliotheque Nationale.