I’m going to crouch more

10 March, 2023

I have had many pets in my life. First I had budgies. I particularly liked my first one – Mimi. I once took her to school in the outer compartment of my backpack. In the summer I fished. I pulled up roaches and perch on the jetty. Digged a pit and had my own fish pond. Then there were mice. Rats. Turtles. Rabbits. Chickens and horses. I knew that stuff with animals.

In my work as a filmmaker, I have never filmed animals. But last week it happened. It was my first day as a nature photographer. I was excited. We were going to film pregnant gray seals. For a few weeks in the spring and winter, the gray seals in the Baltic Sea come out of the water to give birth. Beside me, Johan Candert and Simon Stanford crept. Two photographers who dedicated their lives to capturing unique images of the animal world. it became a hunt for the perfect sequence: a seal pup being born. They wanted me to crouch more. But I already know this stuff with animals, I thought.

Photo: Daniel Hager

Suddenly I was standing there in front of a mother who had just given birth to her baby. What did I say. Placenta next to it. The sun was still shining. Nearby was the seal pup which had just started looking for the teat to suckle. Perfect! The first moment between mother and offspring. A unique and decisive moment. Everyone in the team was happy with the sequence I managed to capture. Back ashore, when everyone had gone home, I took out the camera. Looked up to the moment and looked. But suddenly the perspective changed. Now I only saw the mother seal’s worried look directed at me. She tossed her head but her gaze remained the entire time. The body moved so much that the kitten had difficulty getting hold of the teat. The mother quickly patted her cub with her large lab. As I stood out there on the cut, I thought she was doing that to move her cunt closer to the teat. So that it would get a better grip. But now I saw something else. She was worried and tried to protect the seal pup by pushing it away against the tall grass. My gaze met hers and suddenly the clip was useless for what it was intended for. Instead, I had to tell you about this. About the mother seal’s first delicate meeting with her cub, which had been filled with worry and stress. Perhaps with danger to its life.

Photo: Daniel Hager

I’ll crouch more. But there will probably always be dimensions in the world of animals that we cannot access. We influence as soon as we approach them. As soon as we want to catch them. Be it in the outer compartment of a backpack or on the lens of a camera.

Chronicle: Daniel Hager
Photo: Daniel Hager

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