My father-in-law is currently on a hunting trip in South Africa. It's a modern version of the classic safari. Instead of killing animals they shoot them with tranquilizer darts. The hunter gets the thrill of the chase and the prey gets to live. It's win-win, sort of, unless you're an animal that didn't want to be shot.
After the animal has been tranquilized it's photo-op time. The hunter hoists the beast into attack position, smiles, and the moment is forever preserved.
The company sponsoring the trip has posted many of these on their site. I find them strangely fascinating. The dress, the expressions, the way they're framed. For example, this animal's attack pose has been aided by a stick in the mouth exposing its fangs.
I think much of my attraction to these photos lies in the idea that they might be open to very diverse interpretations. To the people who've shot these animals, the photos represent a pinnacle of achievement. They've conquered the wild, and perhaps laid to rest their own demons in the process. But to someone thousands of miles away with no vested interest (me), the photos seem quite savage, and almost silly.
They remind me of tourists posing with celebrities. Here I am! And look what I've got!
They almost seem like authentic kill shots. Perhaps some of them are.
In any case looking through many of them one after another seems to have a tranquilizing effect on me. I feel a bit numb, like I've just been to the dentist. Open wide and say "Ahhh"...