The expression “eyes are the windows to the soul” is usually associated with humans. Yet when photographing other great apes, it’s clear that there are sentient beings behind the eyes looking back through the lens.
The orangutan population has declined significantly over the past hundred years due to habitat destruction for palm oil plantations in Sumatra and Borneo. Without sustainable agriculture practices, orangutans will become the first great ape species to become extinct.
Long before genetic testing revealed the 96.4% DNA overlap between orangutans and humans, people had noticed the similarities between the two. The name ‘orangutan’ itself comes from the Malay and Indonesian words orang (people) and hutan (forest).
As part of this project, I teamed up with the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation. They are doing incredible work reintroducing captured or orphaned orangutans back into the wild and protecting their native habitat.
This exhibition is outdoors. Please check what COVID-19 restrictions are in place before you visit.
After graduating from California State University, Los Angeles, with a Master of Arts Degree in Pictorial/Documentary History, Mark Edward Harris started his professional photography career doing the stills for various television and movie companies.
In 1986, he set off on a four-month trek across the Pacific and throughout Southeast Asia, China and Japan. The images created on that trip brought attention to his documentary photography. Assignments have since taken him to more than 100 countries on six continents. His editorial work has appeared in publications such as Vanity Fair, LIFE, The New York Times and The Washington Post. Among his numerous accolades are CLIO, ACE, Aurora Gold, and IPA awards. His books include Faces of the Twentieth Century: Master Photographers and Their Work, The Way of the Japanese Bath, The People of the Forest, and more.
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