A few years ago, I spent a weekend at a game processing facility in Kremmling, Colorado. Over the course of a few days, I met a dozen or so hunters who brought in their harvested deer and elk to be processed. The folks there let me be as involved as I wanted to be as I photographed, and it was such a fascinating experience. When I saw these images by Romanian photographer and veterinary doctor Hajdu Tamás, they made me think back on that time and remember how much it affected my feelings on the controversial practice of hunting and the place animals hold in our lives.
The person holding each animal’s head is the hunter who killed it, or a colleague of Tamás’. Of these photographs, Tamás says, “My specialty in veterinary medicine is the diagnostics of prion diseases. The deer that are hunted in my lab’s territorial jurisdiction have samples of their brains tested. I have worked on hundreds of beautiful specimens and as each one lay on my autopsy table, I felt an emptiness, though perhaps not as profoundly as the forest might feel its loss. Initially, I photographed these deer for documentary purposes. One day a hunter posed with a deer’s head and it inspired me to create this series.” To me, the images communicate reverence, honor, curiosity, and a bit of humor/play. On first glance, the pictures are confrontational and unsettling. I’m interested in the way my feelings change the longer I look.
Visit artist's site: lensculture.com/hajdu-tamas