Sonja Hall – Reflective Silverback, 2009

When I work my way through magazine contest portfolios, I am always looking for the picture that grabs me, the one that makes me say wow.  So I was making my way through the February contest issue of Black and White Magazine #95, when I came across a photograph by painter and photographer Sonja Hall entitled “Reflective Silverback.”  And I said, “Wow, that’s a great photograph!”

Suprisingly, when I visited Ms. Hall’s website I found a color version of the image and I liked that even more.  The shades of gold on the gorillas fur and the shades of green behind the boy really make the image.  What we have here is a gorilla reflective in the sunlight and reflective in demeanour, perhaps dreaming of Africa.  A young boy his hand pressed against the glass of the enclosure is behind the gorilla.  The story is right there, at so many levels.  The  eyes, of both, tell everything and the hand, albeit perhaps unintentionally, is held in a sign of trans-species peace and greeting.

This is one of those pictures where timing was everything.  Usually when you photograph at the zoo, you try to eliminate the zoo aspect from your pictures.  You try to pretend that you took the picture in the wild.  Here however, the zoo is the whole point.  The smudged and scratched glass rather than detracting from the image adds a story to it.

Go and have  look at this picture at Ms. Hall’s website.  While you are there spend the time to look at the other photographs and paintings of this talented young artist. It’s worth the adventure. And don’t forget to watch the slide show on her homepage.

This entry was posted in Reviews and Critiques.


  1. Matt April 14, 2013 at 11:38 pm #

    These pictures are truly amazing especially the reflective silverback. I love her photography and paintings!!!

  2. Carl July 1, 2013 at 9:30 pm #

    You are right. She is very talented. I visited her website. The photograph of the gorilla is outstanding as with her other work.