To celebrate Lomography’s launch of the new WILD limited editions, let’s take a trip to the zoo with German photographer Candida Höfer.
By now we’ve probably all seen and swooned over the new additions to the Lomography camera collections: the Diana F+ Zebra and Diana Mini Leopard, the Fisheye 2 Python and the La Sardina Reptilias. The crowd has gone, well, WILD for them. I, for one, can’t keep my eyes off the La Sardina Orinoco Ochre. It’s orange and it hisses – haha no, I’m just kidding about the last one.
But down to some serious photography related to exotic animals now. In the early 90s, Candida Höfer dedicated herself to a series of work she shot in zoos all over Western Europe: Germany, Spain, England, France, and the Netherlands.
The shots, as you could have expected, are not your run off the mill fun-day-at-the-zoo-with-the-kids sort of job. They’re calculated, meticulously composed and at times even witty. I find the zebra shot tremendously hilarious. It has a ‘fail!’ feeling to it which makes you wonder about the psychological situation of the poor zebra in her wallpapered home.
The penguin shots, taken in London, together with the seals shot in Hannover are also amongst my favourites. The seals especially, for the pictorial quality the photo possesses and the calm, desolation it imparts.
None of the photos I found conveys sadness I find, but neither do they convey happiness. They’re more of a clinical representation. Not a commentary. Höfer records but she doesn’t make or imply a statement. Her job is not to pass judgement, it is to photograph.
If you’re interested in seeing more of Candida Höfer’s Zoologischer Gärten series, a catalogue published by Schirmer/Mosel is available. Good luck if you take your new animal print camera to the zoo! Don’t let the monkeys get too close to it!