We describe absolute, total freedom with the phrase "free as a bird," but so many of those "free" spirits are held captive in zoos and put on display for entertainment purposes. To them, sky is no longer the limit. Metal bars are.
Horrified by his encounters in the Los Angeles Zoo, photographer Devin Mitchell decided to address the issue of wild animals in captivity and created a thought-provoking series titled "Faces of the Wild."
For his project, Mitchell uses digital manipulation techniques to transform humans into a variety of wild animals, including wild cats, boars, reptiles, and birds. To convey the feeling of imprisonment and restriction, Mitchell asked his models to cover half of their faces.
"I wondered to myself: these animals probably feel as if they can't speak, and can only see half of the world around them," he told A Plus.
Mitchell says the idea was born after zoo visit where he saw an elephant rocking back and forth in his cage, much like you would imagine a person confined in a white-padded cell inside a mental institution.
"I do believe in zoology, research, ethology and the rehabilitation of animals. I just don't understand why they can't be kept in free-range environments, on reserve land where there are no fences for dozens of miles," Mitchell told A Plus.
"Humans should be the ones passing through in caged vehicles, not the other way around."
The artist hopes to open up a conversation about the mental anguish that is inflicted upon these majestic wide animals and help change their conditions for the better.
Mitchell is also running a Kickstarter campaign in order to raise funds for the "Faces of the Wild" photography book.
Check out the rest of his photographs below.