When I first began this project back in 2009, people would often ask how I was so sure that I would find miserable animals every time I traveled to a new zoo. It's an innocent question but the answer always seemed so obvious to me.
While a lot can be said for and against zoos, why they remain such a tragedy to me can be exemplified by the following... Take a moment and imagine what you've done in the past week, month, year, 5 years. Now imagine that, instead of living your life, you've been taken away and held captive the entire time. The space may sometimes change, but only in relatively minor ways. You have no control over where you go, what you see or who comes to visit. And boy oh boy do you have a lot of visitors. Some of them are loud, others tap on your windows and the worst ones throw things at you. You hide, you pace, you even act out sometimes in desperation and anger. But nothing you do changes anything. You'll suffer health problems you wouldn't have otherwise had. You'll probably die an early death.
Vailed as many things- conservation, tradition, bringing people and animals together, rehabilitation- the truth remains the same: zoos and aquariums are our way of asserting the belief that animals are ours to own, breed, and ultimately imprison for human entertainment and financial gains.
The zoos included in this project so far are: Bronx Zoo (New York City, NY), Cape May County Park & Zoo (Cape May, NJ), Claws 'n' Paws Wild Animal Park (Wayne County, PA), The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore (Baltimore, MD), Metro Richmond Zoo (Mosley, VA), Nashville at Grassmere (Nashville, TN), National Zoological Park (Washington D.C.), Philadelphia Zoo (Philadelphia, PA), Palm Beach Zoo (West Palm Beach, FL), Plumpton Park Zoo (Rising Sun, MD), Rosamond Gifford Zoo (Syracuse, NY), Toronto Zoo (Toronto, Canada), Turtle Back Zoo (West Orange, NJ)
Any individual or organization advocating for animals is welcome to use any of these images for free. I just require that they be credited to "Bridget Laudien Photography" wherever they are used (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc). If you would like high-resolution images, please contact me.