Fine Art Photography Daily

Isa Leshko: Allowed to Grow Old

Leshko_Allowed front cover

?Isa Leshko, Allowed to Grow Old cover

Some years ago I wrote about Isa Leshko’s poignant and important work with elderly animals-my feature was just one of many as the project had tremendous resonance with people all over the world. I am happy to share that the project is now a book, Allowed to Grow: Portraits of Elderly Animals from Farm Sanctuaries Old, published by University of Chicago Press. The book features her portraits of elderly rescued farm animals and includes essays by NY Times?bestselling author?Sy Montgomery, Farm Sanctuary co-founder?Gene Baur, and curator?Anne Wilkes Tucker.

When photographing these vulnerable animals who have?endured horrific abuse and neglect prior to their rescue, Isa made the connection between her mother’s struggle with aging and alzheimer’s and her own consideration of mortality. “The experience had a profound effect on me and forced me to confront my own mortality. I am terrified of growing old, and I started photographing geriatric animals in order to take an unflinching look at this fear.”

“I have received hundreds of deeply personal emails from people around the world, sharing with me their grief over a dying parent or an ailing beloved pet. At exhibition openings, I routinely receive hugs from total strangers who tearfully share their stories of loss. I am deeply touched that my work has affected people on such an emotional level. I am grateful for the outpouring of love and support that I have received for this work. But sometimes these encounters have been painful as well, particularly when they happened while I was mourning my parents’ deaths.”

Isa is about to open three exhibitions of this work–on April 26—June 7 at the Richard Levy Gallery in Albuquerque, NM, on October 3—November 16 at ClampArt in New York, NY and October 24—December 6 at the Griffin Museum of Photography in Winchester, MA.

Leshko author photo, credit Ron Cowie

?Ron Cowie, Photographer Isa Leshko

Isa Leshko is a photographer who focuses on themes of aging and animal rights. Her images of aging farm animals are much admired and have been published in the Atlantic, Boston Globe, the Guardian, Harper’s, the New York Times, and elsewhere.

Rooster, Age Unknown

?Isa Leshko, This rooster, age unknown, was a factory farm survivor, from Allowed To Grow Old published by University of Chicago Press in April 2019.

Blue, Australian Kelpie, Age 19, I

?Isa Leshko, Blue, an Australian Kelpie rescue dog, was a companion for 21 years, from Allowed To Grow Old published by University of Chicago Press in April 2019.

Allowed to Grow Old

For nearly a decade, I have visited farm animal sanctuaries across America to create photographic portraits of geriatric animals. I began this series shortly after caring for my mom who had Alzheimer’s disease. The experience had a profound effect on me and forced me to confront my own mortality. I am terrified of growing old and I started photographing geriatric animals in order to take an unflinching look at this fear. As I met rescued farm animals and heard their stories, though, my motivation for creating this work changed. I became a passionate advocate for these animals and I wanted to use my images to speak on their behalf.

For each image, I strive to reveal the unique personality of the animal I photograph. Rescued farm animals are often wary of strangers, and it can take several days to develop a comfortable rapport with the animals I photograph. I often spend a few hours lying on the ground next to an animal before taking a single picture. This helps the animal acclimate to my presence and allows me to be fully present as I get to know her. I also work only with natural light to minimize the amount of gear I am carrying in order to be as unobtrusive as possible.

For this series I have also photographed elderly companion animals. I juxtapose these images with my farmed animal portraits to exemplify the similarities among these animals and to invite inquiry into why we pamper some animals and butcher others.

Nearly all of the farm animals I met for this project endured horrific abuse and neglect prior to their rescue. Yet it is a massive understatement to say that they are the lucky ones. Roughly fifty billion land animals are factory farmed globally each year. It is nothing short of a miracle to be inthe presence of a farm animal who has managed to reach old age. Most of their kin die before they are six months old. By depicting the beauty and dignity of elderly farm animals, I invite reflection upon what is lost when these animals are not allowed to grow old. – Isa Leshko

Leshko_Plate_3

?Isa Leshko, Abe, an Alpine goat, age 21, was surrendered to a sanctuary after his guardian entered an assisted living facility, from Allowed To Grow Old published by University of Chicago Press in April 2019.

Leshko_Plate_11

?Isa Leshko, Ash, a Broad Breasted White turkey, age 8. Ash was a factory farm survivor, from Allowed To Grow Old published by University of Chicago Press in April 2019.

Handsome One, Thoroughbred Horse, Age 33

?Isa Leshko, Ash, Handsome One, a Thoroughbred horse, age 33, was surrendered to a sanctuary when he retired from racing, from Allowed To Grow Old published by University of Chicago Press in April 2019.

Leshko_Plate_34

?Isa Leshko, Violet, a potbellied pig, age 12 Born with her rear legs partially paralyzed, Violet was surrendered to a sanctuary because her guardian could not properly care for her special needs, from Allowed To Grow Old published by University of Chicago Press in April 2019.

Leshko_Plate_38

?Isa Leshko, Sierra, a White Holland turkey, age 3, was rescued as a young poult from a commercial hatchery that supplies turkeys to factory farms, from Allowed To Grow Old published by University of Chicago Press in April 2019.

Leshko_Page_2_Introduction

?Isa Leshko, Petey, an Appaloosa horse, age 34, from Allowed To Grow Old published by University of Chicago Press in April 2019.

Ash, Domestic White Turkey, Age 8, II

?Isa Leshko, Ash, a Broad Breasted White turkey, age 8, from Allowed To Grow Old published by University of Chicago Press in April 2019.

Leshko_Plate_15

?Isa Leshko, Teresa, a Yorkshire pig, age 13, was rescued en route to the slaughterhouse , from Allowed To Grow Old published by University of Chicago Press in April 2019.

Leshko_Plate_16

?Isa Leshko, Zebulon, Kelly, an Irish Wolfhound, age 11, was adopted from a breeder after giving birth to her final litter, from Allowed To Grow Old published by University of Chicago Press in April 2019.

Leshko_Plate_36

?Isa Leshko, Phyllis, a Southdown sheep, age 13, was farmed for wool for the first eight years of her life prior to being surrendered to a sanctuary, from Allowed To Grow Old published by University of Chicago Press in April 2019.

Leshko_Plate_39

?Isa Leshko, Red, a mixed breed rescue dog, age 14+, in foster hospice care from Allowed To Grow Old published by University of Chicago Press in April 2019.

Leshko_Plate_40

?Isa Leshko, Blue, an Embden goose, age 28, whose rescue details are unknown, from Allowed To Grow Old published by University of Chicago Press in April 2019.

Leshko_Plate_45

?Isa Leshko, Zebulon, a Finnsheep, age 12, was rescued with Isaiah (plate 41) as part of a cruelty investigation. They had been kept in a small cage for the first eight months of their lives. Both developed severe arthritis as a result of their early confinement, from Allowed To Grow Old published by University of Chicago Press in April 2019.

Posts on Lenscratch may not be reproduced without the permission of the Lenscratch staff and the photographer.


NEXT | >
< | PREV

Recommended

av国产精品_av色图_av首页