Project "Shadow in Paradise"
(This project consists of four series. Each series syudies different components of the project.)
Are animals in zoos happy? This issue is controversial.
We often think of zoos as enjoyable places – the animals look like they are living their lives peacefully, and at the same time, zoos are valuable places in that they allow us to see and study rare animals.
However, due to repeated inbreeding, the animals’ instincts and biology are being altered.
I feel that their long-standing biological system is on the verge of collapse.
To solve this issue, we cannot simply say that we should not have any zoos.
We cannot deny the significant role that zoos play in our society.
Maybe animals are being forced to pay the price for the sake of our entertainment.
They often do not have the companionship of large herds, nor do they have freedom to roam in their vast natural habitat.
Alternatively, is it possible that from the animals’ perspectives, zoos are a paradise, with everything they need provided for them?
Especially now due to factors such as climate change and poaching, wild animals are forced to survive in an increasingly hostile environment.
I strove to capture the unseen sides of the animals’ lives in the unique environment of the zoo.
Are these animals a mere shadow of what they once were?
I decided to start this project when I visited a zoo in Japan and was struck by the sharpness and beauty of the animals’ eyes.
They had dignity, yet at the same time I saw the mixed expressions of loneliness, fear, stress and anger.
Eyes can convey more than words.
Through their eyes, I strive to capture the animals’ complex inner spirits.
I am passionate about trying to better understand their world.