Wildlife conservation

Making a killing: Hong Kong photo exhibition tells African big-game hunters to hold fire

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 07 August, 2014, 10:43am
UPDATED : Thursday, 07 August, 2014, 5:08pm

Photographer David Chancellor offers a unique and often visceral insight into South Africa’s hunting safaris in his exhibition “The Game is Killing the Game”.

Hosted by The Salt Yard, an arts space in Kwun Tong, the photo series calls for a reflection on hunting for sport when many species are in decline.

Animal lovers will find some of the images in the exhibition distressing. In one shot the severed head of a lioness can be seen placed in a cardboard box, her jaws locked open with teeth bared, gaze transfixed.

In another, a giraffe has fallen to the ground in a crumpled heap, after being shot by a hunter.

Chancellor was born in London but lives and works in South Africa. The three times Nikon photographer of the year and World Press Photo award winner spent up to 10 days at a time embedded with hunters to capture the images.

“It’s impossible to work clandestine,” he told the Los Angeles Times last year.

“I realised very quickly that you need to embed with the hunting party – sleep, eat and breathe the hunt. All the portraits are taken immediately after the hunter has killed. It’s impossible to duplicate that emotion which is ultimately read subliminally by the viewer of the work.”

The exhibition comes as African and US politicians meet this week in Washington, with wildlife conservation high on the agenda.

US Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said about 20,000 elephants were slaughtered in Africa last year, while about three rhinos were killed every day in South Africa alone.

“This hugely profitable illicit activity generates billions of dollars in revenue every year, fuelling growth in international criminal syndicates and reversing decades of hard-won conservation gains across the continent,” Jewell said.

The free exhibition runs until August 24.

The Salt Yard, Jone Mult Industrial Building, 169 Wai Yip Street, Kwun Tong. Inquiries: 3563 8003