I must confess, for some reason I have always been petrified of monkeys. I remember this came up when I planned a trip to Japan sometime in 2018. Its not like I could have passed on the opportunity at photographing snow monkeys, after all they are a spectacle of nature. Growing up, I had watched documentaries on National Geographic and Animal Planet about these amazing animals. Watching them on TV decent from the hills and bathing in natural hot springs to keep warm was something that i had hoped to witness someday.
So when it was finally time to plan the trip to Japan, I knew I would have to come face to face with my fears. Knowing very well that this is something that i had to do, i was all in.
Fast forward to the day I made these image. As I left my lodge and made the hour long climb to get to these monkeys, it was the cold that bothered me more. It was minus 15 c. I come from a hot country and while I own artic gear, it was just so cold. As I treaded carefully on an icy path up the hill all I was thinking about was me on a beach somewhere in the Mediterranean. As soon as I reached my destination and I came face to face with these monkeys, my fantasy of a beautiful beach on a sunny day sipping on Pina coladas came to a screeching halt. There were monkeys all over, monkeys started passing me but in an instant i came to the realisation that they weren’t interested in what I was doing. Suddenly I saw myself surrounded by hundreds of these snow monkeys but they weren’t attacking me like how I had imagined this encounter would go. My mind had portrayed these gentle creates to be monsters but they were infact so adorable, so animated and so much fun to watch. As I got comfortable hanging out with my new buddies, I pulled out my camera and started making images. Four hours passed by and it was time for me to head back to the lodge.
So while I have only spent four hours with these amazing animals and could not get the opportunity to make more than just a few images, I do know that I have to head back to Japan soon. I want to photograph the Japanese snow monkeys