In light of his exhibition at Yossi Milo, South African photographer Pieter Hugo felt like an applicable choice for this week's featured image. His series The Hyena & Other Men is anthropological examination of wild animal handlers in Nigeria. Hugo's photographs speak to a specific culture mired in poverty and political unrest; however, they also highlight an often brutal strength the "hyena men" must embody in order to survive. Hugo speaks of this of this duality in his artist statement:
I realised that what I found fascinating was the hybridisation of the urban and the wild, and the paradoxical relationship that the handlers have with their animals - sometimes doting and affectionate, sometimes brutal and cruel. I started looking for situations where these contrasting elements became apparent.
His photographs will be on view at Yossi Milo until January 12, 2008.
Umoru Murtala with School Boy, Asaba, Nigeria 2007
Image © Pieter Hugo