Isa Leshko's Extraordinary Photographs of Elderly Animals

By Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg

"I wanted the images to be unflinching in their detail," Isa Leshko explains in this short documentary about her work by Mark and Angela Walley. "I'm looking at mortality and aging, and that's not easy subject material." Leshko began the project after she spent a year caring for her mother who has Alzheimer’s disease. Instead of photographing her family, she found an outlet for her experience in a series of portraits of aging farm animals. Her luminous photographs are a moving expression of empathy, but also a celebration of life. 

In her artist statement, Leshko talks about the process of connecting with her subjects:

In order to achieve a sense of intimacy in these portraits, I spend several hours with the animals I photograph and I try to visit them multiple times. Depending on the animal, I may spend an hour or so simply lying on the ground next to the creature before I take a single image. This approach helps the animal acclimate to my presence and to my equipment and it allows me to observe the animal without being focused on picture taking.

You can view some of her portraits in the photo gallery below:

For more information about Isa Leshko's Elderly Animals, visit http://www.elderlyanimals.com. For more work by Mark and Angela Walley, check out http://www.walleyfilms.com/.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/video/archive/2011/12/isa-leshkos-extraordinary-photographs-of-elderly-animals/249340/