Downward Two

The photograph Downward Two (2005) by Jill Greenberg is part of her Monkey Portraits series. The series took five years to complete and was shot in the artist’s studios with over twenty different species. Downward Two features a mandrill looking downwards with a sombre expression. “I was attracted to the images where the subjects appeared almost human, expressing emotions and using gestures I thought were reserved only for people. These animals’ expressions allow an interpretation that can be perceived as passing judgment on the behaviour of their genetic cousins.” Greenberg interprets the animals expression as a critique on humanity and its failures. The delicate details of the fur are captured in careful detail on medium format film and are highlighted by colours in its fur with its distinctive red nose in Greenberg’s skill in creating portraits with a tactile and human element.

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