In 1992 I arranged for the gorillas at London Zoo to take portraits of the spectators. Mounted above the Hasselblad camera was a slim log with a hole drilled through the middle, into which the button of the camera's cable release was threaded, and over which was smeared mashed banana. The gorillas were given little bamboo sticks which they used to poke at the banana, thereby pressing the cable release's button. To make it look as though the photographs showed what the view was like from inside their enclosure, a section of the same steel mesh was mounted in front of the camera. Of course, they knew nothing about the photography, but this is beside the point; for a portrait is an act that takes place on both sides of the camera, as the big hairy hand and sad amber eyes of the gorillas brought home.

gorilla photographer©M Collins-2.jpg