Die Affen waren schon immer die Haupttouristenattraktion von Lopburi. In den vergangenen drei Jahren hat sich ihre Anzahl verdoppelt.
Vor Corona genossen die Tiere einen stetigen Zufluss an Bananen durch Besucher, die in die Stadt kamen, um Selfies mit den Tieren zu machen. Als der ausländische Tourismus abnahm, versiegte auch der Strom der freien Bananen. Dies veranlasste die Makaken, sich der Gewalt zuzuwenden.
Die Einheimischen versuchen die Makaken mit Snacks zu besänftigen. Jedoch erfolglos. Nun wurde von staatlicher Seite eine Sterilisationskampagne angeordnet.
Mladen Antonov hat unseren Fragebogen beantwortet und berichtet über sich und sein Projekt:
How did you get in contact with the topic and what took you to document it?
I am AFP´s Chief photographer for South East Asia. My colleagues and I were seeing some reports online about big groups of monkeys behaving aggressively in the town of Lopburi, after the disappearance of tourists in Thailand during the COVID-19 lockdown.
We decided therefore to visit the city and do a multimedia reporting about the situation. Our visit coincided with a sterilization campaign organized by the local authorities aiming to decrease the growing monkey population. For the last three years the monkey population in Lopburi doubled to some 6000.
What do you want your images to transmit?
As a news agency photographer I would like my pictures to present the situation as accurately as possible. My goal has always been to be objective. In each story there are many sides and my professional ethics demands to show all of them.
In this case involving the Lopburi monkeys I wanted to show them not only as the nice creatures we love to see, but also as a problem for the people who share the same living space with them.
How did you came in contact with photography, what took you to choose this as a career?
Since I was a small child I wanted to be in the news’ „hot spot“ as a reporter. Photography gave me that chance.
Is there a portfolio or photobook that inspired you?
My inspiration came solely from the newspapers front pages. I wanted to make such pictures that one day they could be printed. I learned photography from the published pictures in the papers and later on the websites. In other words I learned photography from my colleagues.
Where can one find more of your photographic work?
I am uploading to Instagram frequently examples of my work under the alias „Torbalancho“ My account can be found also by searching „Mladen @ AFP Photo“ and one can follow me on Facebook by searching for Mladen Antonov.
A full collection of my pictures as well as of my AFP colleagues is available at afpforum.com.