Case Study - The Maternal Bond
A while ago, I was in Borneo photographing orangutan for a book I was writing about endangered species and conservation. Now, because I'd never photographed around town before, I decided to spend a few days at a sanctuary to study the animal's behavior and visualize some ideas for images. On my first evening in the camp restaurant, I met a woman who invited me to dinner, and she turned out to be one of the most fascinating women I've ever met. Dr. Francine Iago was in her eighties and had spent her entire adult life caring for and conserving orang utan. During the conversation, she asked me about my work and specifically what I was doing at the sanctuary, and that Porter's under the subject of conservation. One of the surprising things he told me was that while the many sanctuaries in Malaysia and Indonesia have a part to play in saving individual orangutans, they don't really help in conserving this species as a whole. Now, explaining this, she told me the maternal bond between a moth...
er and baby orangutan is the strongest bond in nature, even greater than that of humans on. But for a baby orangutan to thrive it needs love Justus, much as it needs nourishment. The problem is, she said, that when an orphan orangutan arrives at a sanctuary while feeding, it helps it to survive to thrive. It needs the love of a mother, which, because of the circumstances, is always provided by a human surrogate. But as soon as you habituated orang utan to humans, it can never be released back into the wild. After dinner, as I walked back to my room, I thought about this conversation on what kept coming back to me over and over with Doctor Niarchos, statement about mother and baby, that the maternal bond between a mother and baby orangutan is the strongest bond in nature. I thought, What a beautiful sentiment that WAAS would it be, Geiling and engaging story. And so the next day I went into the sanctuary with the sole intent of photographing that story. I didn't pre plan specific shots. I didn't draw compositions on paper. I didn't Presuppose camera settings. Instead, I put my faith in my knowledge and experience of camera technique, which allow me to be mindful to my task, and I let curiosity fight me, and every time I framed an image. I asked myself the question. Does this composition tell the story when the answer came back? Yes. That's when I pressed the shutter. Captured meaningful image, No.