Allowed to Grow Old: Portraits of Elderly Animals from Farm Sanctuariesby Isa Leshko University of Chicago Press
- Pub Date:
- Hbk 126 pages
- AU$89.99 NZ$91.30
Product Status: Out of stock. Not available to order.
There’s nothing quite like a relationship with an aged pet—a dog or cat who has been at our side for years, forming an ineffable bond. 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, brilliantly, with this 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 without anthropomorphizing. 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. Open this book to any page. 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. You’ll never forget them.
"I learned at an early age that animals are complex, thinking, feeling creatures. All animals. So often, though, we overlook the lives of those animals who are raised for farming and meat production. Isa Leshko offers us a deeply personal view into the lives of these animals. Her portraits are tender and present the inescapable fact that each subject is a living thinking creature with an individual history and personality."
Alexandra Horowitz, author of Inside of a Dog
"There is great poise and dignity in the animals Isa Leshko captures with her lens: their characters shine brightly despite their often devastating histories. She looks at them, and her gaze reveals them as individuals. One hopes our society looks, too, and does better for them all. What Leshko gives us with these photographs is a reminder of the very real fates of these and all farm animals. I would love to know every one of them."
J. M. Coetzee
"It is a pleasure to see these elderly cousins of ours, rheumy-eyed, bewhiskered, unsteady on their feet, enjoying their twilight years in peace, security, and dignity."
Carl Safina, author of Beyond Words
"Empathy. Humans have the greatest capacity for it. And we have the greatest need for much, much more of it. In this soulful, deeply conveyed book, extraordinary photos team with eloquent words to show us the wisdom path to becoming more human by becoming more humane."
Peter Singer, author of Animal Liberation
"In Allowed to Grow Old, Leshko's remarkable, unsentimental photos of older chickens, turkeys, pigs, cows and other animals achieve something that I have not seen before in photos of domesticated animals. We get to know them, not as things to eat or produce milk or eggs for us, but as individuals with personalities and lives of their own to lead."
Gene Stone, coauthor of Living the Farm Sanctuary LIfe
"Very few books can make you laugh, cry, smile, and ponder the universe all at once. This rare, beautiful, and thoughtful volume of photographs and essays does exactly all that. Please read it, please think about its message, and, if you can, please act on it!"
Steven Wise, founder and president of the Nonhuman Rights Project
"Because of the betrayals they endured at our hands over long lifetimes, the eyes of Isa Leshko's subjects radiate deep sadness and reproach, but also a touching dignity and lack of bitterness and fear. I found myself stroking their fur and feathers on the pages to comfort them or perhaps to ask their forgiveness. Hers is an unforgettable book."
Barbara J. King, author of Personalities on the Plate
"Beautiful art and powerful animal advocacy--Isa Leshko's portraits of elderly farmed animals are both. Abe the goat (age 21) I gaze at just because he's so handsome; the images of Pearl (age 7), Violet (age 12), and Stella (age 18) affirm for me why I don’t eat turkeys, pigs, or cows. Isa's words are compelling too: in describing her patient methods of honoring each animal's comfort level with being photographed at his or her sanctuary home, it becomes clear why these images so touch our hearts. This volume is a perfect choice for animal lovers."
Carol J. Adams, author of The Sexual Politics of Meat and Burger
"In this unexpected encounter with aging animals, Isa Leshko enables us to see what she sees: the beauty and dignity of those allowed to live into old age. There is something new in these gorgeous portraits of the old."
Marc Bekoff, author of Canine Confidential
"Allowed to Grow Old is a priceless and heartfelt tribute in stunning images and moving words to elderly farmed animals--senior citizens--who had previously lived horrific lives.This beautiful 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 homes and our hearts.They all 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. I hope this book enjoys a global audience. No matter what language readers speak, these images transcend different cultures and belief systems. They are that compelling."
Virginia Morell, author of Animal Wise
"Rarely do we see elderly farm animals. Pigs, cows, horses and chickens are usually killed before they have a chance to experience a full life--which means they die young. Isa Leshko's images speak volumes: these are sentient beings. Yes, the animals are old, but also wise in years, and still living their lives, under the care of people who have their welfare at heart and want them to live as long as they can without pain. Here is a book animal lovers will want to savor and embrace--as it reminds us to hold close our own aging animals."
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.