​Toilet paper crisis inspires American photographer’s humorous ‘wildlife’ album

Toilet paper crisis inspires American photographer’s humorous ‘wildlife’ album
A picture in the ‘wildlife’ album American photographer Anne Sampson took in light of the current toilet paper crisis due to COVID-19 fear. “They’re thought to be nearly extinct. Over-hunting has had the biggest impact on their numbers,” she captioned the photos

A number of photos capturing a roll of toilet paper in the woods have gone viral amid the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic that has fueled panic buying in many countries, with one of the many items of interest being toilet paper.

On March 12, American photographer Anne Sampson posted four photos she had just taken to her Facebook account, having no expectation that they would draw the attention of thousands.

“I don’t do much wildlife photography, so I was super excited to get these shots,” she wrote in the introduction to the photos.

“They’re thought to be nearly extinct. Over-hunting has had the biggest impact on their numbers. They like to travel in packs of 2, 4, 6, 8, and up, so seeing this one out solo says something about how seriously they’ve been affected,” she added, as if she were describing an endangered animal she had encountered in the wild.

“I’m just glad I had my zoom,” the author concluded.

American photographer Anne Sampson introduced her Facebook fans with her 'wildlife' album taken in light of the current toilet paper crisis due to COVID-19 fear

American photographer Anne Sampson introduced her Facebook fans to her ‘wildlife’ album taken in light of the current toilet paper crisis due to COVID-19 fear.

The photos, which actually capture a roll of toilet paper placed among the trees in the woods, have eventually drawn the attention of 80,000 Facebook users who have hit the ‘like’ button on her post.

The post has also received 14,000 comments and been shared over 401,000 times by people around the world, including Vietnam, at the time of this writing.

“A rare spotting! I’m glad you could capture it,” one user wrote in a comment.

“Hope you made a [secure and safe] paper note of locations [where you found the toilet paper] for emergency backup use,” another added.

Most of the comments praised the photographer for her sense of humor.

“I actually got a good belly laugh out of this! You are too funny,” one comment reads.

A picture in the 'wildlife' album American photographer Anne Sampson took in light of the current toilet paper crisis due to COVID-19 fear

A picture in the ‘wildlife’ album American photographer Anne Sampson took in light of the current toilet paper crisis due to COVID-19 fear.

A picture in the 'wildlife' album American photographer Anne Sampson took in light of the current toilet paper crisis due to COVID-19 fear

A picture in the ‘wildlife’ album American photographer Anne Sampson took in light of the current toilet paper crisis due to COVID-19 fear.

A picture in the 'wildlife' album American photographer Anne Sampson took in light of the current toilet paper crisis due to COVID-19 fear

A picture in the ‘wildlife’ album American photographer Anne Sampson took in light of the current toilet paper crisis due to COVID-19 fear.

Talking to Tuoi Tre News on Tuesday from where she lives in Virginia, the U.S., Anne Sampson called the experience of going viral “very interesting” and “has a very human element.”

“I took the last roll from my house out into the woods behind the house. I had no expectation that it would go viral,” Sampson told Tuoi Tre News.

“I went to two grocery stores yesterday, incidentally, and there was absolutely no paper.”

The 60-year-old photographer said she lives on wooded land at the foot of a mountain where she sees a lot of wildlife.

Then she “watched toilet paper hoarding stories with interest and disbelief.”

“I think I had a moment’s thought of ‘How can I express this in a photo?’ and the next moment knew what I would do,” she recalled.

Calling herself “not a meme-factory,” the freelance photographer and writer said she just wanted to put together words and images that touched people and made them laugh, and it was the power of Facebook that drove it around the world.

“Many people have contacted me to thank me for the laugh. It’s gratifying to see comments about having a good laugh during a stressful time,” she said.

“I wanted a wry, humorous way to comment on the artificial scarcity of something we take for granted. I like putting things in environments they don’t belong in, like toilet paper in the woods, to capture attention.”

It took her around two hours for the photos, including 20 minutes of shooting and the rest spent accessing the location for her photos, which required her to climb down a ravine where a stream runs.

Sampson said she took 21 photos in total but selected what she thought were the best images that told the story she wanted to tell.

American photographer Anne Sampson in a photo she provided Tuoi Tre News

American photographer Anne Sampson in a photo she provided Tuoi Tre News

The photographer, who “enjoys travel and find stories everywhere,” said she has never been to Vietnam but the country is definitely on her list.

“A friend has been there and says it is among his favorite places to visit,” she said.

“I’m amazed by the natural beauty I see in photos.”

Talking about the COVID-19 epidemic, Anne Sampson hopes “this experience will teach us how much we need each other [and] how interconnected we are.”

“Our needs are met by the work of others. Our health is affected by, and can affect, the health of others. Even our buying habits affect others in our communities and around the world, and everyone everywhere needs a moment to laugh,” she said.

The novel coronavirus, which first emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019, has infected over 198,700 people and killed more than 7,900 globally as of Wednesday afternoon, according to Ministry of Health statistics.

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