PERSONAL // The Dallas Zoo

I've returned with some long overdue posts. It gets so hard to sit through tons of images and filter them down to the essential. A few weeks back I went to the Dallas Zoo and had a lot of fun photographing animals. It's always a different experience returning to places where you would go as a kid and then again as an adult. There is always still a sense of wonder and excitement when you can get close to the animals but a sense of reality of the amazing world around us. Now, I took a ton of photos that day, but these aren't my best in terms of technicality. I'd say they carry the strongest photojournalistic elements that tell more of a story than a sense of aesthetic. 

At each spot where different animals are, I among a group of friends kept running into the same family. They were taking the pace we were, walking with three children with two parents, checking out the animals. These children were so incredibly cute and full of curiosity. The questions and the excitement from the kids was so much fun to watch that a part of me wished that I had spent more time with the children. Below are my absolute favorites. One of the eldest girls in that same family had a bag of toys in her little pink backpack. As she took one out to show the chimpanzees at the window, she actually caught the attention of little Mshindi -the youngest chimpanzee at the Dallas Zoo. 

Apparently Mshindi and his older brother were eager to play with the girl's toys that it caused such a sensation with the children watching. The chimpanzees were eager to grab hold of the item and put it in their mouth. The girl was having such a good time teasing the chimps and being able to interact with them.

It was such a cool moment to witness. It's times like these it helps to be a photographer and be ready to capture the moment. I sent the mother of the children these photographs and I'm sure she will be delighted to see them. I remember going home and thinking about Jane Goodall and Dian Fossey - two women who have made great connections with apes, gorillas, and chimpanzees. How they were able to teach them sign language, express emotions, but also develop friendships. I think that day I got to see a taste of what those women must have experienced and I wished in that second I had some toys too. 

“Every individual matters. Every individual has a role to play. Every individual makes a difference.”
— Jane Goodall