Primates | SPA2020 Nederlands Fotomuseum

Primates | SPA2020 Nederlands Fotomuseum

Today the exhibition Somfy Photography Award 2020 | Gimme Shelter in the Nederlands Fotomuseum opened, with new work of the nine nominated photographers. I’m showing my series Primates.

For the past seven years I have been working as a volunteer in the Dutch rescue centre of AAP (Animal Advocacy and Protection), taking care of primates and doing animal transports.

Now for the first time, I have brought this work and my photography together and created a story about monkeys and apes in rescue centres.

The Antropocene is a term now commonly used to describe the age in which we live: a time when the human species holds sway over Planet Earth and exerts a radical influence even on the climate. Many people today - especially city-dwellers - have lost touch with their natural environment, although the complex ecological systems of which man is part continue to operate.

Maarten Tromp has produced a series of portraits of primates in rescue centres in the Netherlands, Spain and Indonesia. Those in the Netherlands are animals intercepted in the hands of smugglers or previously used in laboratory testing, as domestic pets or as circus animals. Primates in rescue centres in the regions to which they are native, such as Indonesia, have lost their natural habitat due to forest clearance and trade.
In this series of portraits, Tromp has photographed them without revealing their rescue centre surroundings. What do the portraits say about the way we look at these animals? What point have we reached in our history and how do we, as human beings, relate to world we live in?

Project text in Dutch
Het Antropoceen is inmiddels een gangbare term voor het huidige tijdperk waarin we als mens over de aarde heersen en daarmee zelfs het klimaat drastisch beïnvloeden. De hedendaagse mens is, zeker in de steden, losgeraakt van zijn natuurlijke omgeving, terwijl de complexe systemen waar we altijd deel van uitgemaakt hebben nog steeds bestaan.

Maarten Tromp creëerde een serie portretten van primaten in opvangcentra in Nederland, Spanje en Indonesië. De dieren die in Nederland verblijven zijn onderschept bij smokkel of zijn als proef-, huis- of circusdier gehouden. In opvangcentra in de regio’s waar ze oorspronkelijk leven, zoals in Indonesië, zijn ontheemde dieren te vinden door onder andere boskap en handel.
Tromp fotografeerde de serie Primates zonder de context van de opvangcentra te laten zien. Wat vertellen de portretten ons over de manier waarop we naar deze dieren kijken? Waar staan we in onze geschiedenis en hoe verhouden we ons als mens tot de wereld waarin we leven?

With special thanks to Colour & Books for supporting this project.


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