Lion Lessons

Apres l'Amour

I learned a small lesson from this image. Maybe a large lesson, time will tell. I connect with this image emotionally. The thing is, I didn’t think anybody else would because I bring all of my emotional baggage to this photo and I assumed others would not have the same life experiences and the same degree of anthropomorphism as I do. I was wrong.

I posted this photo on Flickr and there were twenty hits before I even got it key worded. Apparently I am not alone in connecting human situations and emotions with this photograph. These lions have just mated and the body language, in human terms, would suggest the relationship is not exactly in very good shape. At the very least, it is an unconventional lion photograph, a peek into their personal lives.

I just happen to be reading Chris Orwig’s book, Visual Poetry, and happen to be reading a chapter that teaches that if you don’t connect with your image on an emotional level, then your audience won’t care about it. That is the lesson I hope I have learned.

I have a tendency to post pretty pictures. Fairly shallow, meaningless, pretty pictures. Pictures that don’t really tell a story. I should know better. I, myself said this about the Amalfi Coast in Italy:

“The Amalfi coast was predictable. Pretty, sure, postcard photos by the bucket. Just no surprises. No life. No character. Just pretty like a very dull date is pretty, but then she talked about herself all night without revealing anything really intimate at all, and she never asked one question about you. Very superficial beauty. There were no good stories being told. It was all too much about buses and winding roads and traffic and tourists, and nothing about who the hell Amalfi is. Whether Amalfi is worth getting to know. Just another pretty model smiling for my camera.”

Apres l'Amour Partie Deux

This is the next image in the sequence. I still get buckets of emotion from this one as well. It was just so monochromatic that I went with black and white to bring out the textures better. I sepia toned it because Africa is just sepia toned. It is a lot like Tuscany that way. I don’t know where all of the brownness comes from.


Lions mate two to three times an hour. Not much room for foreplay or flirting there. This is about it.

I have just finished selecting images from my Africa trip for a slide show. I am hoping to get them into Animoto, which will put the slide show in a video format. Then I will see if I can master the technology of getting that posted in the blog.

Looking over the selects from the trip it is obvious that this trip was all about lions. I was so impressed with them. They sleep about twenty hours a day, but when they are awake it is all about affection, playing, hunting, and eating. Even the adults play. There is not much they are afraid of – just Maasai warriors with spears and hyenas in large quantities. And that is just the females. The males pretty much fear nothing. They are so huge and muscular! I saw a video recently where a large group of hyenas intimidated about five lionesses off of a kill. Then a single male lion came along and sent the whole group of hyenas packing. Fearless. Of course he then dominated the carcass and wouldn’t let theĀ  females feed, but he would let the cubs eat. Old softie.


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