Wall Exhibition: Wildlife in Peril Photographs by Paul Hilton
“Wildlife in Peril” by Paul Hilton
Trapped behind bars or bound by chains, deprived of the freedom to walk, fly, or swing through the trees, the look in the eyes of the creatures in Paul Hilton’s photographs tells in plainest terms the story of human power and how devastatingly we wield it.
A long time Hong Kong resident, Australian photojournalist and wildlife trade consultant now based in Queensland, Australia, Paul has spent more than 25 years focusing on conservation crimes, intent on using his powerful images, footage, and words to change attitudes towards animals and their environment.
Even his gorgeous images of free animals – blue sharks in the Atlantic; spinner dolphins off the coast of Bali – serve to highlight the threat people are bringing to their existence. Over 150 million sharks are slaughtered every year, almost half being killed so their fins can be consumed as a sign of status by humans.
Paul’s years-long work covering the global shark fin trade, some of which can be seen in a new exhibition of his photographs at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club this November, was also the subject of his 2010 book, Man & Shark, and earned him a World Press Photo award in 2012.
Paul’s long list of accolades also includes Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards in 2012, 2014 and 2016, when “The Pangolin Pit,” his image of defrosting pangolins, the world’s most trafficked animal, in Indonesia won the wildlife photojournalism category.
In 2020, Paul again won a Wildlife Photographer of the Year award, in the wildlife photojournalist story category, for six harrowing pictures of wildlife poaching in Indonesia and animal entertainment in China.
The image in the FCC’s exhibition of a young macaque chained to the top of a cage in an Indonesian animal market, its huge bright eyes downcast, was among that winning package of photographs. Paul was only given permission to photograph the monkey, he said, because the trader in charge of the animal thought he was trying to buy it.
By forcing us to engage, eye to eye, with the fate of these endangered creatures, Paul’s powerful images act as their advocates – the only lifeline they may have – and call on us to respond to them.
Correspondent Member Governor