Alex the snail

tree snail, wildlife art, photographic art, broome photographer

alex the mangrove tree snail, looks like a cartoon character with a great big mouth and lips. But...

...he is a fantasy creature...

...a figment of our human imaginations...

...but alex is also a real live mangrove tree snail.

How can that be? How can he be a fantasy and real at the same time?Well, firstly...

...his big lips and mouth are really his foot

His real mouth is small and up near his eyes. It is only because the photographer has held him upside down that the 'foot' curled up until it looked like a big moth...

...and then the photographer pushed the shutter

So we see the picture as a cute character with a big mouth. It is an illusion that we humans happily fall for, because we like things that look like us...

...alex is not real in the way we imagine him to be...

...but he is still a real living snail, and when he is put back on his branch, the right way up...

...he will slide along again on what we thought were his big lips

We choose to impose our anthropomorphic art values on a real living creature.

We almost always bring our own interpretation to anything we look at in nature.

this is what I think of as my "line of sight"...

...I intentionally take an anthropomorphic view to get the picture.

sometimes the viewer of these photos might not realize that the lips and mouth are not real. They may have no reason to question what they are seeing and just accept it as a funny creature with big lips.

There are often much more subtle versions of this affect where we impose our own view on nature and see it for something that it is not.

But sometimes humans are very happy to see animals in human terms, because it helps them to have empathy with them ...

...and thus to try and understand other species needs...

the snail is back on his mangrove tree branch now, up the right way again...

...Eric only really exists in out response to this photo...

...eric the snail just looks like a snail again - on a tree branch somewhere on the remote shores of Australia's Kimberley coast.

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