Apes on film

Posted on April 26, 2011


If there is one thing I wish I could change about myself, it would be my eyesight. I’m myopic or in layman’s term extremely short-sighted. If it wasn’t for modern science my glasses would have lenses the thickness of jam jars. I’ve thought about having corrective surgery but for someone with such a high prescription like myself, there are far too may risks involved and there’s no guarantee that I’ll have 20:20 vision afterwards. When I wake up in the morning everything is in soft focus, and even squinting doesn’t pull things into focus. But I’d like to think that my hearing is pretty good to compensate for the lack of vision. I guess I should be grateful that I am not partially sighted, but I’m still too embarrassed to reveal what prescription I am….let’s just say it’s not far off minus 10!

German photographer Volker Gutgessell developed tinnitus (ringing in his ears) in 2007 as a result of an old injury. He now can’t hear at all; so visual communication is very important to him. The opposite of me, I suppose. He’s spent the last four years visiting Frankfurt Zoo taking portraits of the apes there (bonobos; gorillas and orangutans) and picking up on their body language.

He said: “The more you watch them, the more similarities you see between us and them. Their movement is so strikingly similar to ours it becomes quite easy to read what’s going on. Eye contact is very important – sometimes they see into the camera lens and become transfixed..”

These are some of his beautiful and if not comical images.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.