In zoos all around the world, visitors go to admire some of the most beautiful, rare or fierce creatures on Earth, but often fail to notice the deplorable habitats in which they are kept.
I have been gathering pictures from zoos all around for the last three years. I like most zoos — I really do. Some zoos need to be congratulated for making great efforts at conserving endangered species, providing shelter to animals who could not otherwise survive and educating the public on ecological issues.
However, even in the best zoos, there are animals that are stuck in cement enclosures too small for their needs, or in rooms where the only vegetation they see are the plants painted on the wall. I’ve seen animals living in cages where they cannot even sit up, or have no access to daylight or clean water. At these moments, I feel guilty for supporting a system that treats animals cruelly, and at these moments, I take pictures.
Gaston Lacombe is a photographer and filmmaker, originally from the Canadian province of New Brunswick.
He has left his footprints all over the globe, including living in Latvia for 12 years, and is presently based in Washington DC. He completed his Professional Photography degree at the Center for the Digital Imaging Arts at Boston University (Washington DC campus), and also has studied at the B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. level in History.
He specializes mostly in documentary projects that have taking him to all corners of the planet. This includes an art residency in Antarctica with the government of Argentina in early 2012. His work has been shown in PDN magazine, the Washington Post, the Toronto Star, and many other publications. His photos have also been exhibited in solo and group shows in North America and Europe, including at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC.