Photo: Li Feng
National Geographic has just chosen the winners of its International Photography Contest. Out of 148,203 images submitted, this particular one above by Chinese photographer Li Feng won for the category Animal - International.
Caged monkeys await their fate at a medical laboratory in Hubei Province, China. The judges liked that this image subverted the usual “romanticized” approach to wildlife photography, and more accurately reflected the fate of many of the world’s animals. The sneaker at the top provides scale and injects humanity into the scene; the anonymity of its wearer suggests concealment and complicity. The structure of the cages, the horror of the captivity, the crowded composition, and the claustrophobic tension all add up to a very sad and compelling photo.