"For however dutifully we record what we see around us, the common denominator of all we see is always, transparently, shamelessly, the implacable ‘I’."—Joan Didion
I have recently discovered the work of Finnish portrait photographer, Perttu Saksa. It’s not often that I come across work that, aside from being beautifully executed, scares and disturbs me. Saksa’s series, “A Kind of You,” gives us arresting portraits of monkeys, trained as street performers in Indonesia, that reveal the dark side of animal exploitation.
These manacled macaque monkeys, trained by “monkey masters” and used for roles in “street theater,” are rented out to beggars collecting money from performances. Behind the child-like masks, these animals are suffering. This practice has now been banned, but these images are a vivid reminder that despite an attempt to entertain us, we should never ignore the anguish among us. —Lane Nevares