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An eerie photo series from Greenpeace shows how alienated humans are from nature

The photo is taken by Chinese photographer Trunk Xu as part of the effort for the establishment of Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary.
Trunk Xu
By Echo Huang
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

The idea of looking at how animals live in a zoo is normal to us, but what if we let animals observe the way we live?

A Chinese photographer is exploring the question through photos that show a man dressed as a penguin roaming around China’s capital, Beijing.

Trunk Xu, one of China’s most renowned magazine photographers, took the photos in May as part of a global campaign by non-profit organization Greenpeace supporting the establishment of an Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary to ban fishing activities there. Twenty-five countries and regions will come to a final decision on the proposal in October.

Xu wanted the penguin to observe conflict and disharmony between nature and the artificial world, he told Quartz. Here are a selection of the 18 photos he took:

Trunk Xu
This corner in a park says a lot about China, Xu said. It shows a typical daily routine of a retired man, who visits a park and sings Beijing opera while playing an urhu, a traditional string instrument, inside a pavilion. There’s a skyscraper in the distance.
Trunk Xu
The penguin man experiences modern gardening techniques, which Xu said is an artificial beauty.
Trunk Xu
This photo shows a hutong, a traditional courtyard residential compound in Beijing. CCTVs are also visible.
Trunk Xu
The penguin man visits a thermal plant which provides heating for the city.
Trunk Xu
This picture showing the penguin man standing on a construction site shows how development is constant in Beijing, said Xu. The green sheets covering the mounds of sand resemble man-made mountains.
Trunk Xu
The penguin man stays the night in an apartment.
Trunk Xu
Taking guests for a nice meal, like Beijing hotpot, is a basic gesture of hospitality.
Trunk Xu
Having a penguin sit in a taxi with a “typical Beijinger” shows how arrogant and domineering humans are against nature. “I think humans and animals do not share equal rights,” said Xu.

Photos courtesy of Trunk Xu

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