primate portraits

Primate Portraits

Much like us, our hairier cousins have their own distinct facial features, unique combinations of jawlines, eye shapes, and nasal widths that make them recognizable on sight. But have you ever studied the differences between other primates’ faces?

Photographer James Mollison was struck by how similar great ape facial features are to human features, and wanted to take their portraits for much the same reason you photograph human faces: to gather a sense of identity. He traveled to Cameroon, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Indonesia to photograph gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos, and orangutans who were orphaned by the bush meat and live pet trades. Seen together with their unique faces and expressions, it’s hard not to see the apes as individuals with their own personalities.