S. Heiner fine art photography
"And What are YOU Going to Do about It?". 2009.
Inkjet print, 8"x10"
We're often surprised on seeing photos of non-human animals in the wild mimicking our practices, gesticulations and expressions. In a sense, however, the surprise is unwarranted because the photo almost always is a moment which is saliently out of place in the life of that animal, an accident which has no meaningful bearing on that life. For whatever reason, we attribute intent which for all intents and purposes is absent from the behavior. The photograph sustains the illusion by freezing time, i.e., there is only this moment, no past or future to challenge it.
And then again, sometimes the anthropomorphism isn't an accident, but rather more or less ordinary behavior that just happens to mimic human behavior. Such is the case with What Are You Going to Do about It, only here the intent closely mimics human intent as well. That peahen sitting on the ledge of a horse stall door was in no mood for me to inch closer in the effort to take its picture and, accordingly, was daring me to do so. I lived around and photographed peafowl (tough, unrelenting and at times aggressive birds) for five years and I'm here to tell you that that bird was daring me. "Try it and see what happens. I'm drawing a line and what are you going to do about it?"