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False freedom

I photographed these fishes in a public aquarium, where they are admired by visitors.

The fishes are captive, but they appear dignified. I say they appear because, unlike other animals, the fishes do not change their facial expression.

But do they know that they are captive?

I don’t know if they were born in captivity. If so, they have never known freedom and are not aware that they are captive. So captivity is the only freedom they know.

So the condition of these fish has a dual character: freedom and captivity simultaneously.

I noticed that when I approached the aquarium, the fishes would come closer to the glass. Was it out of curiosity, because they wanted to interact with me, or to try to throw me out? It is a question I will never get an answer to.

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Paulo Monteiro

Paulo Monteiro was born June 1963, in S. Miguel, Azores, where he currently lives and works. He has been a photographer since 1985. He has… More »

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