There are quite a few mammalian species which are communal. Patas Monkeys are no different. And, in the wild, the communal nature of the group ensures the survival of the species. They quite literally live by the proverb, “You scratch my back, I will scratch yours”. But, besides sleeping eating and taking care of young together, They also partake in performing look out as demonstrated in this shot of “Patas Monkeys on Look Out.”
For me, what works most about this composition is the amount of character that comes through the photograph of these two monkeys. One looks out to the left sternly keeping an eye on what drew its attention while the other rubs its nose while facing the camera. The placement of the monkeys in the frame as well as their facial expression humanizes them as they peer out of the frame and produces posturing which seems more akin to a painting than a candid photograph. Every time I look at the photograph I pause to wonder – What was it looking at? Why was the other monkey covering its nose?
In a more painterly sense, another reason why the image works is the manner in which leading lines are used in the photograph. All the major lines in this photo converge on one central point, the smaller of the two monkeys in the foreground.The metal beams of the enclosure as well as the limb of the tree converge on the smaller patas monkey.
As technically sound as the image is, I think it still does suffer from some problems that I could not workaround. the fencing of the enclosure is subtly visible in the image. It is something that I wished that would not have been visible at all. Further, at the time I took the shot it was raining and caused some small white streaks which appear in places in the shot.But, in spite of its flaws I still like this image for the qualities which I think are enduring – that it demonstrates very human like qualities in another species.