Photography: Talented Chimpanzee…

As I stood on the tube, holding on for dear life, I happened to catch a glimpse of someones newspaper. It featured a photograph of a chimpanzee stood next to a camera.


I found this very odd so I decided to investigate further and turning to my trustee photographers website, PetaPixel, I found an article about said chimp.

It appears as though a chimpanzee named Mikki has mastered the art of photography thanks to teachers Vitaly Komar and Alexander Melamid, Russian conceptual artists who collaborate as Komar and Melamid.

The pair spotted Mikki at a Moscow Circus and from then on have been teaching him how to use various different cameras. They began the tuition on a Polaroid camera before teaching him how to use analog, modern film and progressively large format cameras.

What has stirred the photographic world is the collection titled ‘Our Moscow Through the Eyes of Mikki’ which includes 18 photographs. The set features self portraits of Mikki, images of the duo teaching Mikki how to use a camera and other images photographed by the chimp depicting Russia.


The photos are expected to sell for £70,000 ($106,000) at the auction, ‘Changing Focus: A Collection of Russian & Eastern European Contemporary Photography’, on June 5, 2013 at Sotheby’s auction house in London.

The auction itself is something of a rarity as it features other photographs taken by photographers living within the former Soviet Union. The collection dates back to the early 1960s and onwards.

This is not the first time monkeys have tried their hand at photography. In 2011, PetaPixel told us about a group of Indonesian monkeys who became interest in photographer David Slater’s camera. The crested black macaque monkeys, situated in an Indonesian national park, ended up capturing some shots of themselves and Slater himself.


I think it would have been hard for any photographer to be able to capture such up close and personal shots of these monkeys without handing over their camera.

I think I may be jealous of a monkey because I wish some of my photographs were selling for £70,000.


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