A Charming Project: Dilla Djalil-Daniel's A Trunk and Other Tails

For her beautiful series, A Trunk and Other Tails, Indonesian Photographer Dilla Djalil-Daniel captures the relationship between humans and animals who have suffered at the hands of other humans.

In a fascinating interview, Dilla elaborates on her endearing series and shares her thoughts about photography in general.

© Dilla Djalil-Daniel, Courtesy of IPA

Dilla states that her series is about "the loving and dependent relationships and bonds that can exist between animals, which have suffered as a result of human activity, and their carers and custodians. This is a series of photographs featuring a variety of animals, which I shot in Indonesia, South Africa, Thailand, and Nepal."

She further expounds on her process for the series: "I started the elephant project in 2012 as part of my participation at the Foundry Photojournalism workshop in Chiang Mai. I was very much “green” at that time. Little did I know that eventually, it would become a long-term project for me. The main challenge actually came from within my own self. I needed to convince myself that these images and the series of animal stories I did were really worth telling and worth showing to the public, rather than just sitting pretty on my hard drive. It took few years for me to finally decide to come out of my shell."

© Dilla Djalil-Daniel, Courtesy of IPA

During the shoot, Dilla got attached to the three legged elephant named Mosha. Dilla notes that "Mosha is clearly the sweetest and friendliest elephant I have ever met in my life. She is really adorable and so photogenic too. I feel I have quite a good instinct, especially with animals. So when I met her the first time I knew immediately that she was the one that I would have a connection with. I didn’t feel a hint of fear when I was sitting or lying together with her. Mosha lost one of her legs at an early age, when she was only seven months old and she is 11 years old now. Despite her suffering and traumatic childhood, she maintains her dignity and she indeed has a beautiful personality. She is very affectionate to me and always welcomed me into her pen."

"There is another permanent resident called Boon Mee. When I came to the hospital in 2012 I felt that she was a bit suspicious of me, so she needed assurance from her mahout that I was harmless. When I returned to the hospital to continue shooting the following year, Boon Mee was much friendlier to me and I knew she remembered me too. I have gained her trust and she became very sweet to me too."

© Dilla Djalil-Daniel, Courtesy of IPA

Dilla hopes that her work can make an impact, stating: "I want people to have more sympathy and empathy towards animals. They are not “just animals”. They do have feelings like us too. Happiness and sadness go hand in hand for them and they have fears and anxiety just like us. I sincerely hope that there will be an improvement of the animal welfare condition in general — either domesticated animals or animals who live in their natural habitats, as far as possible."

Read Dilla's full interview here and check out her website for more amazing images.

written by crissyrobles on 2018-10-18

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