Anne Berry’s photographs are poignant and deeply disturbing. Each one speaks to the loneliness, the depressed spirit and the despair of the incarcerated individual. Try to imagine the passage of the hours, days, weeks, months and years, trapped in a life that has no meaning and leads to nothing but death. Knowing full well that these are sentient, highly intelligent and emotional beings highlights the shocking level of our inhumane attitude to animals. Together we should demand an end to exploitation of this sort. Jane Goodall, PhD, DBE. UN Messenger of Peace and Founder of The Jane Goodall Institute.

I’m grateful to Jane Goodall for writing this reaction to my photographs and for all she does for the welfare of chimpanzees. These words bring to mind an image of Willie B, the Western Lowland Gorilla who lived in the Atlanta zoo throughout my childhood. Stolen from Africa, living alone in a room of blue ceramic tile, he did not go outdoors for 27 years. But he inspired and still inspires empathy for his species. Today the gorillas at the Atlanta zoo have a much larger, more enriched environment, and the zoo supports the existence of gorillas in the wild. Young visitors to the zoo bond with animals and some will be inspired to do important things for animals and the world, as was Alan Rabinowitz, co-founder of the Panthera wild cat conservation organization, by his childhood visits to the cats in the Bronx Zoo.

Since 2010 I have been traveling throughout Europe photographing primates in small zoos. Alone, patient and silent, in these monkey houses I have the opportunity to establish a more than passing connection with these animals. I make portraits that reveal their unique personalities; it is clear that they are posing for my camera and that there exists a human-primate bond. My goal is not to comment on the condition of the zoos I visit but to make portraits that inspire empathy. To borrow a metaphor from Wassily Kandinsky, if the soul of the viewer is the piano with many strings, I want my photographs to become the hand that touches the keys, creating vibrations in the soul, causing the reaction described by 21st Editions editor Collier Brown in his Forward to Primates: But the fact that Berry photographs apes and monkeys explains very little about that tug you feel deep down in the cardiac region of your chest as you look each of these beautiful primates in the eyes. An encounter with any of Berry’s portraits is enough to leave a person speechless for many minutes at a time. A part of the mind just goes blank. But how to describe that blankness? Not empty, not void. More like open, receptive, ready to take dictation. (Anne Berry. Primates. 21st Editions. 2017)

I hope people will listen to the voices of these primates, and that they will consider the welfare of all primates, living in desecrated and threatened habitats, in sanctuaries, or in zoos, and be moved to action. There is always something we can do to make things better.


Anne Berry is an artist from Atlanta, Georgia. Her photographs investigate the animal world, the domain of childhood, and the terrain of the Southern wilderness. She also explores themes and metaphors from literature. In 2013 and 2014 Critical Mass included her work in their Top 50 Portfolios. Anne has exhibited nationally and internationally, including The Fox Talbot Museum in Lacock, England, SCAN Tarragona in Spain, The Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego, and the Ogden Museum of Southern Arts in New Orleans. Books include Through Glass (North Light Press, 2014) Primates (21st Editions, 2017), and Behind Glass, 2021. Anne’s work is featured in National Geographic Proof, Feature Shoot, Hufffington Post, and Lens Culture, among others. Her work is in many permanent collections, including the National Gallery of Art. Anne lives in Newnan, GA and is represented by the Catherine Couturier Gallery in Houston.

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