Next week photographer Tim Flach (whose image of Jambo, a hairless chimpanzee, above, graces the cover of our new November / Photography Annual issue) is set to talk about his new book, More Than Human, at a PhotoVoice lecture in London…
Jambo, a resident of Twycross Zoo in Leicestershire who suffers from alopecia, is one of dozens of animals, beautifully shot by Flach, which appear in More Than Human (Abrams, £65). The book looks to explore various contemporary relationships between humans and other animals and makes, Flach says, “an inquiry into how these relationships occupy anthropocentric space within the context of ethics, history, science, and politics.
“My hope is that I can engage with subjects in illuminating ways,” Flach continues, “helping inform the thoughts we each have around our relationships with animals.”
Put simply, the images, alongside brilliantly researched and insightful text by Lewis Blackwell, invite further thought about how we perceive the creatures depicted. For example, orangutans are often thought of as solitary creatures, yet the cleverly framed image above shows a family group and the mother’s direct gaze challenges the viewer to reconsider preconceptions.
Below, this image of two bonobos kissing makes you wonder what the relationship is between the two primates shown, and what the circumstances are for this seemingly tender moment.
The image caption in the book explains that the puckering up is nonsexual, “a gesture between two females engaged in friendly and helpful grooming.” It also points out that there are some human tribes that have been found not to kiss at all and that “kissing means different things in different times in different places.”
The above image is of a featherless chicken, bred by Professor Avigdor Cahaner of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Faculty of Agriculture, drawing on a naturally occurring recessive mutation that eliminates feathers. Rather than taking the view that this is genetic modification taken to extremes, the accompanying text in More Than Human points out the “considerable economic, and potentially environmental, benefits” of such a breed.
More Than Human is published by Abrams, £65. More info at abramsbooks.com.
The PhotoVoice Tim Flach Lecture will take place at Kings Place, 90 York Way on November 5 at 7pm. Tickets are priced at £9.50. To book tickets and find out more about PhotoVoice’s work to build skills within disadvantaged and marginalised communities, visit photovoice.org.
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