My OBT

What if you spent every day looking for One Beautiful Thing?

Bribing the Bears

26 Comments

giant brown bear and model by Olga Barantseva

Olga Barantseva

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.

Giant brown bear Stephan with trainer Yury Panteleenko photo by Olga Barantseva

Stephan with his trainer, Yury Panteleenko (photo by Olga Barantseva)

giant brown bear and model by Olga Barantseva

Kids, stay in school. Olga Barantseva

giant brown bear and model by Olga Barantseva

Olga Barantseva

giant brown bear and model by Olga Barantseva

Olga Barantseva

giant brown bear and model by Olga Barantseva

“I’m sorry. We’re going to need to move the shoot over a bit. The model has soiled the snow again.” Olga Barantseva

giant brown bear and model by Olga Barantseva

Olga Barantseva

giant brown bear and model by Olga Barantseva

Olga Barantseva

giant brown bear and model by Olga Barantseva

Olga Barantseva

giant brown bear and model by Olga Barantseva

Olga Barantseva

giant brown bear and model by Olga Barantseva

Olga Barantseva

Author: Donna from MyOBT

I have committed to spending part of every day looking for at least one beautiful thing, and sharing what I find with you lovelies!

26 thoughts on “Bribing the Bears

  1. Those models were still very brave or downright mad!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Amazing photos but completely insane. And now I know not to walk in the woods with cookies or mozzarella lest I attract a bear.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Mesmerizing, yet not the least bit tempting to recreate myself. Beautiful photos…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You couldn’t pay me enough to pose with a bear. I’m deathly afraid of them, even though I think they’re beautiful.
    Great shots. Thanks for sharing.
    Shine On

    Liked by 1 person

  5. One of the greatest thrills of my life was hugging a brown bear. The size of her paws reminded me of her strength, but the softness of her fur enticed me to hug her a little longer. She nestled her head under my neck. Her warm breath tickled my skin and still I held her. Then the trainer approached with food. The fantasy of a gentle creature changed to the reality of a hungry animal eager to eat. We both pushed away from each other. I’m grateful for the opportunity to have interacted with her and the fact she was still a cub.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. “Grizzly Adams” soul mate. Pretty amazing photographs.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I see this and I think of Werner Herzog’s documentary “Grizzly Man” – the story of a self-appointed protector of the bears who wound up being eaten by one of them. A brilliant movie. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWycuaWJFCM

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Speaking as a person who once lived in Alaska, those pictures are beautiful…but seeing those models so close to A WILD ANIMAL, scared the hell out of me.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I have no words. Wait. Here are a few: Human stupidity knows no bounds.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. My family went to Yellowstone when I was about 10 and although we did not feed the bears, the bears were used to being fed and were not shy. One, much smaller than the one in these photos, came up to the car and because the back window was rolled down the bear dropped its paws on the window. My sister and I plastered ourselves on the opposite side of the car while my mother tried desperately to simultaneously roll up the window and lure the bear towards her window with a bit of cinnamon roll. Forty years later my memory of that bear and its claws is still quite vivid.

    The photos are thought provoking though. What is it exactly that we want from wild animals? What do we project on to animals? A friend of mine posted a photo very like this on her facebook page but I didn’t see it on the photographer’s webpage. It was a photo of a young girl and a very big bear face to face. My friend said something about the photo reminding her of her daughter’s gentle way with animals. The evil twin was barely silenced.

    Like

    • Oh, god, remember roll-up windows? The stuff of horror movies for sure. Yeah, I have a friend who’s always been very vocal about her mistrust of bears (she calls them face-eating monsters), and I’m starting to think she’s right. I don’t know if you read the comments above, but someone suggested I watch the documentary “Grizzly Man.” I did. I may never be the same.

      Like

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