For Necrofilia I, Spanish photographer Toni Amengual explores his own feelings of isolation by capturing the secret sorrows of zoo animals. After purchasing an annual pass to the Barcelona Zoo, he found himself visiting the animals in the dead of winter. Imbued with a mysterious and primitive intensity, these shadowed visions echo the artist’s own anxieties. In captivity, the exotic creatures are kept safe from the dangers of the wild, tended to with human hands, and yet this security comes with a crushing loss of freedom, a reality that for Amenguel mirrors modern human experience.
In hauntingly muted and dull tones, the animals seem to seek out Amengual’s lens, a diminished animal instinct and hope for release yet lingering in their eyes. Ever-present in the strange and darkened compositions is the reminder confinement and isolation, as told through chain link fences that shot from close range, become ghostly metallic blurs across the frame. As if startled in private moments of sleep and feeding with the abruptness of the flash, the creatures are left painfully vulnerable and exposed to our gaze, which rests on them for a moment in acute recognition of our own alienation and heartache.