Press Go Bananas Over Monkey Photos


Photograph: David J Slater/Caters News Agency

Can any old monkey take a good photo these days? That seems to be the line taken by the press in a bizarre story about monkey taking wildlife shots


Is there any art in photography any more? Or is the equipment so good that a monkey could do it. That seems to be the takeout of the newspapers reporting photographer David Slater’s experience in Indonesia’s national park where a Macaque monkey turned the tables and took some snaps of the photographer.


Slater had been shooting the monkeys. He left his equipment alone for a moment and returned to discover the wannabe photographers snapping away. With newspapers such as the Telegraph going wild with the story, he told The Guardian in London:


“They were quite mischievous, jumping all over my equipment. One hit the button. The sound got his attention and he kept pressing it. At first it scared the rest of them away but they soon came back – it was amazing to watch…He must have taken hundreds of pictures by the time I got my camera back.”


Some posters have suggested the images are faked. But aside from some questions around composition, the monkey does pretty well.


There is that old idea this story plays off, that an infinite number of monkeys hitting typewriter keys would eventually create the complete works of Shakespeare.  And with the accessibility of high-quality cameras and cameraphones, the implications of the story are clear. It’s obvious anyone can take a decent picture, even a monkey, but surely only the skilled photographer can take a quality one to order. The other question as posters have pointed out is where does the Macaque stand in relation to the copyright…


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