Wolves, Reflections on Coexistence
During my degree project my passion for all these predators grew, but I became especially fond of wolves. Not only because of their beauty and importance to the ecosystem, but more because of their complex nature and their resemblance to us humans. Wolves, just like humans, value family above all else and live in family groups that are rather similar in their structure to human familes. So it's no wonder that humans not that long ago in terms of evolution took a liking to wolves and tamed and domesticated some groups, resulting in man's best friend as we know them today; dogs.
However, many humans around the world hate wolves. Some even seem to have made it their life mission to spread this hatred to others, striving towards the extinction of wolves, at least in their local area. But as seen in my prequel project, wolves and other apex predators are keystone species and play a vital role in keeping the ecosystem in balance, also known as a trophic cascade.
In my book I have begun to dig deeper into the subject of wolves. My first chapter looks into their behaviour, unique personalities and family bonds, the idea is to show that no two wolves are the same, that each individual should be considered to have intrinsic value just like us humans. Once this broader introduction to wolves has been made, my project continues to look into their role in the ecosystem. I spent a lot of time during my project observing other animal species as well, all which in one way or another are affected by the presence of wolves. My third and final chapter looks into the relation between humans and wolves. I have throughout the duration of this project put myself into different situations where I've encountered people of different opinions towards wolves in order to present a wider spectrum of this complex relation. Throughout the whole book, the story is highly personal. As there is so much to be said on this topic, I have chosen to focus this project on my own experiences. While heavily visual, there's also some writing in this book where I provide the audience with my own personal reflections as well as some food for thought.
My ambition with this project is to provide my audience with the opportunity for an open mind towards these animals. While it is obvious that I am positive towards the existence of wolves, and ultimately coexistence, I want my audience to make up their own mind. If I, with the help of my project, have inspired at least one person to feel more positively towards the existence of wolves, I will feel that I have been successful. I do hope that I will be able to continue working on projects similar to this one, and keep encouraging coexistence.
Due to the budget and timeframe of my project, most of my photographic practice took place in controlled environments with captive animals. While I have a strong sense of ethics in wildlife photography, I also made a decision that this platform would be the most appropriate for this particular project. I do not wish to mislead anyone in my audience and thus I am open about this fact. A lot of effort and time was put into getting to know the animals and documenting their behaviour in a way that would correspond correctly to their wild counterparts.