The Forkies 2020 • Nominations now open

Search:



The eyes have it

Posted: 9am 06 Aug 2020

Looking at one of Jennifere Thompson’s photographs, you can’t help be drawn to the eyes staring back at you.

They’re almost human and the emotion in them stirs emotions in the viewer – exactly the effect Jennifere’s after.

The Woodford-based photographer has spent the past five years travelling around the world, photographing primates in the wild, and in zoos and sanctuaries.

She says emotive facial expressions are the same, no matter where she captures them.

“It’s not about where the animal is. They could be in the wild, a zoo or sanctuary. It’s about the animal,” Jennifere explains.

Your chance to see her work has come, with the ICU Too exhibition now on show at The Hub Gallery, Caboolture Hub at Hasking St until August 29.

Tales from the wild

While Jennifere says she’s never felt threatened by a gorilla, monkey or orangutan, there have been some seriously close encounters.

The first happened in 2015 during her first overseas assignment.

“I was photographing a baby gorilla when a big silverback came up behind me and stepped on my foot. On the lefthand side, there was a female gorilla who brushed up against my thigh. They didn’t worry me, they were beautiful,” she says.

“I just kept taking photos.

“Another time, they were so close … I was trying to focus (the camera) but couldn’t. They were so close and someone yelled, ‘your camera’. I put my shirt over it, huddled and turned into the bamboo, crouching. I thought they were going to take my camera, but they lost interest.”

Jennifere says she’s never been worried or frightened by a gorilla and has even been chased by an orangutan in Borneo.

“It stopped about 5ft in front of me and posed,” she says laughing. “It just sits back and looks and I look at it, and it looks at me.”

On another occasion, one was throwing big branches in a territorial display.

“I never see any animals as a threat,” she says.

Jennifere once saw the oldest gorilla in the world, strangely enough, in Berlin.

It was 62 years old and had been rescued after being stowed away in a suitcase.

“I was photographing her and she looked straight at me,” Jennifere recalls.

It’s all in the eyes

Jennifere’s photographs draw attention to the animal’s face and when they’re looking at Jennifere, and subsequently us, that’s when the magic happens.

Her work is mostly dark, using light and shadow to accentuate the animal’s face and eliminate the background.

“If you see them in the wild, they have a stillness and calmness about them. I think I see myself in them … the emotions … they just have that look,” she explains.

“There’s some that don’t have a lot of emotion in their face, we you can still read their eyes.”

How it all began

Jennifere left the Victorian Police Service to have a hand operation in 2011, from which it took a year to recover. During that time, her husband bought her a camera but she was initially unable to hold it.

When she regained strength in her hand, she started exploring the camera but didn’t really know how to use it, so she enrolled in a course.

One of her assignments was to photograph animals in a zoo. Her work was part of an exhibition and the experience sparked a passion to photograph animals around the world.

In 2015 she travelled to Rwanda, ending up in the capital Kigali and setting off with a driver to photograph gorilla. Five years on, she has 35 completed portraits in the ICU Too series and many more on her computer to work on.

ICU Too exhibition

The title of the exhibition is a play on words. There’s the obvious intensive care reference, because the animals face significant threats, but also because Jennifere cares intensely about them.

It also refers to the primate’s interest in humans (seeing us too), something she’s witnessed many times since her first encounter with a monkey in a circus trailer as a child.

“We’re thinking we’re looking at them, but they’re looking at us too. It’s a two-way thing,” she says.

Get involved

Jennifere will present a meet the artist talk at the gallery on August 8 at 2pm during which she will share stories of photographing primates and explain her technique.

She’s hoping her work will resonate with those who come to see it and they will do what they can to preserve these intriguing animals.

You can also be inspired by Jennifere’s work and make your own monkey mask at home. Visit https://www.moretonbay.qld.gov.au/Galleries-Museums/Events/CRAG/Monkey-Masks for details and to download the activity.

You’ll find more local lifestyle news here

Share

Trending

Discover Samford Village dining hot spots

Samford Village has some great places to eat here are some hidden gems you need to add to your next trip.…

Jacaranda Trees in Brisbane North

From October into November each year, the Moreton Bay Region blooms a sea of purple. Although native to Brazil, the gigantic canopies known as jacaranda trees have surely found a home in Australia. Here, you can find the best places to see jacarandas bloom this spring near Brisbane.…

More you might like:

Trending

Local Stories   •   8-1-2018  •   Kylie Knight

Why Buying a Chook is More than a Transaction

Ingrid Dimock comes close to being a mother hen to “her girls” and firmly believes buying a chook should be an experience, not a transaction.…

Local Stories   •   9-2-2018  •   Kylie Knight

Building Concrete House Took Grit, Determination

Brunella Novello says she adopted the "just watch me" mantra to overcome obstacles during building her dream home in Ocean View, northwest of Brisbane…

Local News   •   9-2-2018  •   Kylie Knight

Samford Farmers’ Hall Remains Heart of Village Almost 100 Years On

It took a concerted effort from the community to create the place that has hosted celebrations and events in Samford for nearly 100 years. The Samford Farmers' Hall's history is testament to the strength of the community it continues to serve…

Local Stories   •   9-2-2018  •   Kylie Knight

Easter Camping: Plenty of Options in the Moreton Bay Region

Camping can be as rough, comfortable or luxurious as you wish and there are plenty of options in the Moreton Bay region, regardless of your preference. …

Local News   •   14-2-2018  •   Kylie Knight

Craft Beer Industry Booms in Moreton Bay Region

Hannah Honnef may have German heritage and grew up on a vineyard, but she says her decision to join the beverage industry was not inevitable.…

Local Stories   •   14-2-2018  •   Kylie Knight

Moreton Bay's fishing tips

David Bateman enjoys fishing in Moreton Bay and it seems he's not alone with half of all Queensland's recreational anglers going to the same place every year.…

Your free local community newspaper, home delivered fortnightly.

Read Latest Edition

Close