Allowed to Grow Old: Portraits of Elderly Animals from Farm Sanctuaries

Category: Book
By (author): Baur, Gene
By (author): Leshko, Isa
By (author): Montgomery, Sy
Subject:  NATURE / Animal Rights
  NATURE / Essays
  SCIENCE / Life Sciences / Zoology / General
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Published: May 2019
Format: Book-hardcover
Pages: 126
Size: 10.25in x 9.50in x 0.70in
Our Price:
$ 54.50
Availability:
In stock

Additional Notes

From The Publisher*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. 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.
 
Review Quote*"This is partly the story of a woman who starts out not knowing how to open and close a farm gate, and ends up learning how to put animals at ease so she can photograph them in close-up (approach them at eye level; lie in the hay with them for as long as it takes; don't take your bag into the pen, because they'll eat it). It's also about characters like friendly Melvin the Angora goat, and Babs the impossibly stoic, shaggy donkey, who are described in the text with an empathy at times reminiscent of Helen Macdonald's H is for Hawk. Making the text personal makes the book feel warm and open rather than preachy, which seems the right way to go if you really want to ‘start a conversation,' as Leshko does."
Review Quote*"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."
 
Review Quote*"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."
 
Review Quote*"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."
 
Review Quote*"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."
Review Quote*"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."
Review Quote*"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!"
Review Quote*"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."
Review Quote*"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."