I was struck by the heart-breaking photographs of zoo animals taken by Mitusko Nagone. As a kid I loved going to the zoo. It was always so exciting to see animals up close and the petting zoo was even better because you could actually physically connect with an animal. There is something ignited inside a person when they make that connection to an animal, the physical contact, the body heat, breath, wet-nosed nuzzle or even a sharp kick or nip or scratch all leave something in us changed.
I imagine that I saw these images or others like them hundreds of times when walking around a zoo: an animal looking out from behind bars, pacing in it's cage, isolated and surrounded by concrete instead of earth. only now having them frozen in time and re-presented to me can I see what sort of horrors truly exist for the prisoners of many of these facilities.
With so many repeated atrocities occurring against animals around the world I wonder if I will ever live to see their liberation. Will I ever see animals like chimpanzees, whales, dolphins, ravens, or any of the other thousands of sentient beings offered their sovereignty, dignity, and freedom to live by their own will released from the domain of humans. I guess when I look at any work about animals I wonder about that.
Mitsuko Nagone grew up in a small southern city in Japan. She moved to Tokyo and studied photography at the College of Tokyo Visual Arts and then moved to New York City to continue her studies at LaGuardia Community College. Currently, Mitsuko resides in Tokyo, Japan, and works as a freelance photographer. Visit her website to see more of her work.