Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Power of a Photo

In this blog, I will be discussing a photo of interest, this specular picture of a young Jane Goodall grooming a chimpanzee in the Gombe Stream Chimpanzee Reserve (Tanzania). This photo, taken by the Hugo Van Lawick of the National Geographic Society, features an intimate scene between the now famous primatologist and the chimpanzee of which little was known at the time. 

In 1960, Jane got to work studying chimps at the direction of the world-famous anthropologist, Louis Leakey, who believed that evaluating chimps could shed some light on our evolutionary history. So, why is this picture so dynamic? First all of, we can clearly see the young, ambitious Jane working intimately with the chimp. She seems to excited, but also has a calming influence on her subject. Secondly, we make connections between the bananas and some of the techniques Jane was using to increase the chimp's comfort level. Additionally, the background is real and raw, and not staged with amazing views or a dense, green jungle canopy. We can see the gentle interaction between the two of them, free from note pads, binoculars, cameras, and any other research equipment. Jane looks as if she is meant to be part of this scene, in harmony with the surroundings and her animal of interest. It is a wonderful picture that captures the essence of Jane Goodall's work and what she now means to the international primatologist and animal conversation communities. For more information or to make a donation to her institute, please see the links below.

Check out these books by Jane Goodall

 For more information on The Jane Goodall Institute please visit The Jane Goodall Institute