Much like my post from April 2014, “No Models Were Mauled During the Making of These Photos (We Think),” today’s OBT is about another courageous (or insane) group of young, pretty people fooling around with wild animals. Russian photographer Olga Barantseva photographed her models snuggling up to a bear in a forest near Moscow, AND NOBODY STOPPED HER.
According to Barantseva, the remarkable fairy tale photos are meant to “show the natural harmony between humans and bears.” Her real intention, she says, is to discourage hunting of these majestic creatures. (So then why the fur coat?) I don’t know how successful she’s been at getting hunters to leave them alone, since the pictures depict the bears as approachable and benign, but they are certainly successful as art!
Playing the part of the bear is Stephan, a 7-foot-tall, 1,400-pound giant brown bear. Saved from hunters as a cub by circus animal trainer Yury Panteleenko, Stepan has spent nearly his entire life around humans. In case you were wondering how to get a giant bear to do your bidding, mozzarella and sweet cookies were the bribes used to get Stephan to pose for the photos.
Please oh please do not try this at home.