We’re not going to lie: It was the panda and its gratuitous cuteness that drew us in.
The curators of Endangered Wildlife Exposed were no doubt banking on that reaction when choosing an image to promote the Roger Hooper exhibit at Oxo Gallery. With their large heads, big bellies, the appearance of wide eyes, and their tendency to toddle about, pandas are said to bear (heh) enough similarities to human babies that our nurturing instincts kick in when viewing them – thus, we just can’t get enough. It’s true! Resistance is futile.
Though we went for the pandas, we stayed, and had a poke around, for the rest of the stunning wildlife photography on display. Lovers of London’s urban jungle we may be, but a perusal of this exhibit left us with a distinct yearning that our adventures in journalism might take us a bit further afield. Hooper enjoys a close association with the World Wildlife Fund – which also knows the value of a well-placed panda – and many of his photographs have previously been used by the organisation to promote awareness about species endangerment. The images are so crisp, the animal life so vivid, that you swear Hooper must have been close enough to take tea with a tiger (how long is your lens, sir?). The disappearance of these animals would, for myriad reasons, be a great loss.
If, like us, you find yourself shirking work on the Southbank this week, this is a pleasant little exhibit to pop into and out of in 10 minutes’ time. Those of you with several hundred quid lying around might even pick up a print for your own collection (online photo gallery here). Friends and family, take note: we quite like this one.
Endangered Wildlife Exposed, photography by Roger Hooper, is on through 6 July, 11am–6pm, at Oxo Gallery. Free.
Image by Roger Hooper, from the Exposed exhibit