“In her stunning images, Jo-Anne McArthur conveys more than words ever can the injustice of confinement, and the arcane idea that we are lords and they are things.”— Jonathan Balcombe, Author of What a Fish Knows
Following the widely-acclaimed We Animals, Jo-Anne McArthur has released her new book, Captive, exploring the interaction between humans and animals in captivity. Over the course of a decade, McArthur documented zoos and aquaria in over 20 countries, illuminating how we see, and fail to see, animals in enclosures. Beautiful and disturbing, Captive challenges our perception of these establishments anew, leaving us to see through McArthur’s lens, the relationship between we humans and those animals.
One of the world’s foremost photojournalists documenting the stories of animals, McArthur was the subject of the acclaimed documentary The Ghosts in our Machine, and in spring 2017 launched the We Animals Archive, a free-to-use resource featuring thousands of high resolution photographs of animals. Her images have been used by hundreds of organizations, publishers, and academics, and have been exhibited around the globe from Helsinki to Sydney. National Geographic, The Guardian, Elle Canada, DAYS Japan, Helsingin Sanomat, and many other media outlets have featured her work, and she has received awards and accolades from organizations such as Huffington Post, CBC and numerous animal protection organizations.
In addition to the 148 unsettling photographs in Captive, McArthur shares her own reflections and personal accounts of what she has observed throughout the course of this long-term project. Essay contributions about the ethics of captivity as well as the history, and future, of zoos, were written by Born Free Foundation’s co-founder, Virginia McKenna, and by philosopher Lori Gruen.
“Increasingly, zoos and aquaria are being called upon to undertake both ideological and physical changes to their institutions. At the center of the current debates regarding the ethics of captivity are the animals and our moral obligations towards these ‘others,’” said McArthur. “Captive looks at the animals we so often fail to truly see, and is my contribution to the ever-growing conversation about keeping these individuals on display.”
On January 1st, as a companion project to Captive, McArthur launched A Year of Captivity. Every day in 2017, A Year of Captivity shares an image and stories about captive animals around the world, along with related media, and tips on how we can further the mainstream discourse about ethics of zoos, as well as help create meaningful change for animals. A Year of Captivity unfolds on both instagram and facebook.
From September 7th to 10th, 2017, images from Captive and A Year of Captivity will be exhibited at Toronto’s Harbourfront Center alongside Toronto Vegfest, the biggest event of its kind in North America. McArthur is currently booking speaking engagements and book signings for Captive, with an official US book launch taking place at the Leonard Nimoy Theatre, NYC, on October 21st. Follow A Year of Captivity’s social media for updates on speaking engagements and book signings. A west-coast book tour will take place in early 2018.
Jo-Anne McArthur is a photojournalist, author, and humane educator. She has been the recipient of many awards for her work in the field, including Huffington Post's ‘Top 10 Women Trying to Change the World’, one of CBC’s ‘Top 50 Champions of Change’, as well as being the recipient of Toronto’s 2013 Compassion for Animals Award.
Published by Lantern Books. Available on Amazon (CAD $35).