Let me introduce you to Bobby. Bobby is a very special Gorilla. He is the heraldic animal of the Berlin Zoo, the first Gorilla ever to live there. And he is dead.
He was born in 1926. His exact date of birth is unknown. On 30th March 1928, he was taken to the zoo and where he died in, on 1st August 1935. After his death, taxidermists Karl Kaestner and Gerhard Schröder used new taxidermy techniques some of which they have developed themselves to create a stuffed version of Bobby. Today, he is on display at the Natural History Museum in Berlin.
I usually don’t photograph stuffed animals because in most cases, you can instantly see they are dead. Not Bobby. When I was there, I was very impressed by Bobby’s lifelike appearance. If you stand next to him, you wouldn’t be surprised if suddenly he blinked at you or drew a deep breath.
So in a way, this photograph is as much (if not more) the work of the two taxidermists as it is mine. They have done an exceptional job preserving a remarkable animal. Take a look for yourself, especially at his eyes. They truly look as if they were looking straight at you and as if there was a living mind behind them.