French photographer Pierre Abensur spent years traveling around the world taking unsettling, yet captivating pictures of hunters holding their taxidermy trophies on the exact spot where they had killed the animals.
Having filmed in France, Switzerland, western Africa, Mongolia, Argentina, Finland and Namibia, Abensur explains why the subject got him going in the first place:
“Trophies can be considered as visible signs of power, totemic adoration or a significant materialization of a paradoxical love. The perceptible mimicry that links a predator to his prey made me think that far from a supposed unilateral act, killing could be a tacit agreement between both of them, united in a natural cycle of perpetuation of the species.”
The series of photographs is called ‘Subjective Trophies’. During filming, Abensur asked the hunters to don their best clothes and took them to the places where they had killed their prey to picture them with the taxidermies.
He came up with the idea for the series while visiting friends some eight years ago – their home was filled with hunting trophies. The photographer was mesmerized by the juxtaposition of death and admiration and how after killing an animal, the hunter would use taxidermy to grant it eternal life.
Abensur explores another, purely social, side of the ownership of stuffed animals. “As a false resurrection of a dead animal used for ornamentation, the trophy can also be seen as an ovation to nature and divinity or like a human wish to substitute it. On the sociological plan taxidermy can also be considered as a social revenge for popular classes who can now afford some of the aristocratic customs,” he said.