21 Intense Portraits Of Zoo Animals Like You've Never Seen Them Before

German photographer Wolf Ademeit says that zoo animals don’t get the respect they deserve. We pay to see them, snap a few pictures, and move on.

Ademeit sought to capture “the beauty and grace of captive animals” through more than 500 animal portraits taken at local zoos from 2007 to 2011.

“I believe every animal has its own kind of beauty. I try to discover it and work it out,” Ademeit told Business Insider. “If I succeed, I can show the animals as individuals… “

Ademeit says that his goal with the series is to show 'the beauty and grace of captive animals.'

Ademeit's photos required no special access. He traveled to the zoo as a regular visitor to take the photographs.

Ademeit's project required a lot of patience and persistence to capture animals portraying the particular emotion that he wanted.

British conservationist George Adamson once said that lions are 'creatures of character and mood.'

Ademeit caught this orangutan looking like it is meditating.

Ademeit likes to use black and white photography because it puts the emphasis on the animals.

To get so close, Ademeit uses a very large zoom lens on his camera.

Ademeit has a lot of experience photographing emotions. He usually creates portraits of people.

The difference between photographing people and animals, he says, is that you can't give an animal instructions.

To capture a particular emotion, you must wait for it. It usually takes a long time.

Ademeit says that you have to stay focused all the time. When an animal decides to show an emotion, it is usually gone very quickly.

Ademeit has tried to capture every animal at the zoo extensively.

When he decided to turn his attention to primates, he first spent a lot of time watching and getting to know the animals.

He says that he saw them display love, sadness, fun, and violence. Here a chimpanzee enjoys a piece of parsley piece by piece.

He often captures the animals interacting with each other in play.

Giraffes are known to establish social bonds by playing.

Elephants have one of the most tightly knit societies of any animal.

Lemurs live in groups known as troops.

Jaguars typically lead solitary lives in the wild.

In zoos, this isn't possible.

Tigers are considered to be one of the most emotional animal species.

You've seen incredible portraits of live animals...

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