Meet Teresa, a thirteen-year-old Yorkshire Pig, or Melvin, an eleven-year-old Angora Goat, or Tom, a seven-year-old Broad Breasted White Turkey.
If you see their faces, you’ll know what it’s like to have a relationship with an aged pet. You’ll never forget them.When a dog or cat has been at our side for years, a bond is sformed.
Pampered pets, however, are a rarity among animals who have been domesticated. Farm animals, for example, are usually slaughtered before their first birthday. We never stop to think about it, but the typical images we see of cows, chickens, pigs, and the like are of young animals. What would we see if they were allowed to grow old?
Isa Leshko shows us, in a new book how to see animals in a collection of portraits.
To create these portraits, she spent hours with her subjects, gaining their trust and putting them at ease. The resulting images reveal the unique personality of each animal. It’s impossible to look away from the animals in these images as they unforgettably meet our gaze, simultaneously calm and challenging. In these photographs we see the cumulative effects of the hardships of industrialized farm life, but also the healing that time can bring, and the dignity that can emerge when farm animals are allowed to age on their own terms.
Each portrait is accompanied by a brief biographical note about its subject, and the book is rounded out with essays that explore the history of animal photography, the place of beauty in activist art, and much more.
Marc Bekoff Ph.D. a specialist in human emotion wrote in Psychology Today that the book clearly reveals the individuality of each animal photographed, and shows that farmed animals are no different from the companion animals with whom we share our lives.
They are sentient beings with unique characters and personalities, who simply want to live out their lives with lots of love and in peace and safety. As an ethologist who has studied the emotional lives of a wide variety of animals, I could easily feel what each individual was feeling when they were photographed, and could well imagine the lives they have led.