African Wildlife at Risk by Marilyn Maxwell
September 5, 2020 - September 19, 2020
Spanning seven years, “At Risk” is a project focused on the pressing issues of vanishing species in Africa. The animals are threatened by habitat loss from expanding human populations and by the illegal wildlife trade in animal body parts and meat. This collection of images not only reminds people of the animals’ plight, but also exists as works of art.
Painting was my first love, and I chose to photograph in black and white using infrared technology in order to create dynamic images that have the look and feel of drawings. I kept the depth of field shallow so that the blurred background keeps the focus on the animal. These tight portraits create an intimacy with the viewer and communicate the animals’ personality.
Sebastião Salgado said “I try with my pictures to raise questions, to provoke a debate, so that we can discuss problems together and come up with a solution.”
I want this collection of images to advance the idea of enlightened human stewardship of earth, even though I don’t know what that means beyond caring. Awareness of the problem is a good beginning. I have loved these animals since childhood visits to the zoo with my dad. We always focused on the exotic African animals. The hunger and unemployment caused by the Pandemic has amplified the animals’ predicament. My fear is that this is the last decade these creatures will walk the earth. Helping to raise money for conservation is another goal of this project. My artist’s portion of sales proceeds will be donated to on-the-ground conservation projects in Africa.