National Geographic : 1956 Jan
119 National Geographic Photographers Bates Littlehales and Donald MelBail "I Can Make a Funnier Face Than You." Author and Pig-tailed Macaque Shake Hands Pig-tailed Macaque is named for his curled appendage, which looks like a handle. Southern Asia is his natural domain. Some of his kinfolk there hold jobs picking coconuts, which they drop to men on the ground. "Brace yourself for a handshake," counsels Mr. Walker; "otherwise this powerful 35-pound joker will pull you against the bars. Give him an audience, he makes faces, his way of saying 'Greetings!'" "As soon as one of us picked up the cam era," says Mr. McBain, "Roger knew that the flash was coming. She immediately re treated to the farthest corner, turned her back, and peeped over her shoulder. She refused to change position until we put down the camera. "Faced with this determined attitude, we could only resign. Fortunately, we already had pictures enough." Personalities Vary Widely My photographic venture gave me a choice opportunity to study personality and charac ter differences not only between species but between members of the same family. Here and there, for example, I find an individual who pretends to be quiet and gentle until his visitor relaxes. In that careless moment he may spring the trap, grab, and bite with incredible speed. Some monkeys rush up to the bars of their cages and try to grab anyone within reach. Quick and strong, they brace themselves and pull. A man off balance may be dragged up to the cage, be robbed of hat or glasses, and be badly bitten. Neither malice nor anger but the desire for attention prompts most of these attacks, in my opinion. Punishment, therefore, is not a remedy; it succeeds only in arousing antagonism and defeating one's purpose. I teach and practice the slogan, "The ani mal is always right." To myself I constantly repeat, "Don't be careless for an instant." Notwithstanding the risks, photography offers a welcome change from administrative routine. I forget my troubles when working with the monkeys. What I have to worry about is my wife. When I tell her about some close call, she is wont to say, "Ernest, have you lost all your common sense?" "If I had any," I tell her, "I wouldn't be photographing monkeys."