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Assignment

The Tale of Two Wolves

This assignment ran from Feb 26 to Mar 19, 2018.

Alright Your Shot community, I am your editor again, which means think outside the box, have fun, and get as creative as you can when submitting images to this assignment! 

Tale of Two Wolves aims to conceptually examine wolves through the lens of science and storytelling. I encourage people to submit images that innovatively bring the narrative and visual motif of the “wolf” in to focus from a unique cultural, political, ecological, emotional and or conceptual perspective. You can use puppets, dolls, toys, books, origami, arrangements, shadows, and silhouettes, to break the myth of the wolf and portray the truth of the animal. Think outside the box for this assignment, abstract imagery or still life photos might work best as submissions. If you follow me on social media or look up the content on Rocky Mountain Wolf Project’s site you can learn all you need to learn about the real wolf. Then go wild! Think of yourself as a public relations agent, and the wolf is your client. The poor beast has had a bad reputation for years on end for no fault of its own and needs your help in restoring public faith in it’s true character and context for being. Another way to think of the assignment is as a product placement campaign: if the “wolf” was a brand, how can we replace the existing adverse adjectives, slogans, and analogies to coin a new marketing initiative for the animal? Can you think of the catch phrase? Can you resuscitate its description? How can you rehabilitate the image of the wolf?

How has the “Wolf” been perceived and received by the masses so far? The answer lies within your friends and you. Ask around. Ask yourself. Look within. When you think of the word, what associations come up for you? Are they largely positive or negative? If it is the latter, why do you feel negative about wolves? Trace it to your earliest encounter of the “Wolf.” Was it in a bedtime story, in a middle school read or while you were hiking or camping with your family in the wild? What story forms in your head? Is your knowledge of the animal based on science or on folklore and fiction?
The nature of the wolf is family oriented, and best expressed by Rudyard Kipling’s words in the Jungle Book, “The strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack.” How do we get closer to Kipling’s portrayal of the wolf, and away from the Big Bad Wolf understanding?
This assignment’s ask is to help revitalize and reimagine the wolf by using “science- telling” to tell a more accurate story of this extraordinary pack animal.

Curated by:

Asher Jay
National Geographic Explorer and Creative Conservationist
Assignment Status
  • Open

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  • Closed

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  • Published

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Published Apr 4, 2018.
Thank you for your contributions!

We Love Animals Submission Deadline: July 16, 2018

Posted jul 5, 2018

In case you missed it, I am curating an assignment called "We Love Animals." The submission deadline is July 16, 2018. I look forward to your photos and stories about why we love animals.

David Y. Lee
Producer, Nat Geo Your Shot

Editor's Update #3

Posted mar 15, 2018

Hello!

We have opened this assignment for a fourth submission! You have three more days, good luck!

Editor's Update #2

Posted mar 15, 2018

I am loving the unique and conceptual images the Your Shot members are composing in response to this assignment. You all single-handedly restore my faith in humanity through your creativity. 

Wolves have long been vilified in stories. My first exposure to the idea was through Aesop’s fables, where animals were assigned personality types representative of human traits. In fables, the wolf represents the observations of the conscious mind, whereas the wolf described in fairy tales depicts our unconscious thoughts and suppressed desires. In both portrayals, we assigned traits to the wolf that helped us understand people, rather than the wolf itself. Because of that tradition in storytelling, many of us grew up with a bias against the real wolf. 

As we aged, we believed the literary depictions of the wolf as a scheming villain. And unfortunately, the myth of the wolf is as strong as it is wrong.  

Scientific observations and studies of wolves in the wild reveal that they are a socially gregarious animal that thrives in packs, only killing to survive—with many attempts ending in failure. Why? Anatomically the wolf is woefully ill-equipped to kill prey much larger than itself. Success requires the pack working together to bring down the prey. And usually, the pack sifts through the herd for the weakest animal to take down—not the biggest or strongest.  It is through this selection process that the wolf actually helps improve the herd by promoting its health.

Once again I encourage members to push the boundaries of this assignment conceptually and imaginatively. Do you know of cultural folklore that portrays the wolf in a positive light? Or what would it look like to create a new story for the wolf? The wolf needs you to tell its story in a way that will help preserve it for future generations. So look through your lens at a wolf, and help bring it to life in a whole new way.

Editor's Update #1

Posted feb 26, 2018

This assignment aims to examine wolves through the lens of science and storytelling. I encourage people to submit images that creatively bring the narrative motif of the “wolf” in to focus from a unique cultural, political, ecological, emotional and or conceptual perspective. Think of yourself as a public relations agent, and the wolf is your client, the poor beast has had a bad reputation for years on end for no fault of its own and needs your help in restoring public faith in it’s true character and context for being. Another way to think of the ask is as a product placement campaign, if the “wolf” was a brand, how can we replace the existing adverse adjectives, slogans, and analogies to coin a new marketing initiative for the animal? Can you think of the catch phrase? Can you resuscitate its description? How can you rehabilitate the image of the wolf? How has the “Wolf” been perceived and received by the masses so far? The answer lies within your friends and you. Ask around. Ask yourself. Look within. When you think of the word, what associations come up for you? Are they largely positive or negative? If it is the latter, why do you feel negative about wolves? Trace it to your earliest encounter of the “Wolf.” Was it in a bedtime story, in a middle school read or while you were hiking
or camping with your family in the wild? What story forms in your head? Is your knowledge of the animal based on science or on folklore and fiction?

Asher Jay

Asher Jay

National Geographic Explorer and Creative Conservationist
Asher Jay, is saving the world’s threatened wildlife—with creativity. Her cause-driven art, sculpture, design installations, films, and advocacy advertising campaigns bring attention to everything from the blood ivory trade to plastic pollution. Jay’s upcoming projects will tackle biodiversity loss due to wildlife trafficking and climate change. Tackling issue after issue, Jay’s projects have become global sensations. Yet her ultimate goal is to motivate the one person she believes holds the real power to determine nature’s fate. You.