The variety of breeds shown in the previous post might make you wonder just how far reaching man's relationship is with animals. Only a handful of species have been successfully domesticated by humans, leading to the generalization that these animals possess certain characteristics that allow for them being tamed and utilized by people. On the other hand, it takes a certain quality of a person to be able to have the empathy necessary to communicate with these animals. Photographer Robin Schwartz explores that idea by documenting her daughter Amelia in the company of weird and wonderful animals.
Robin Schwartz: is an assistant professor in photography in William Paterson University and has had her photographs published in different magazines. She's done a number of projects with animals including one on pet dogs and strays, and another on portraits of primates.
Around 2006, she began documenting her daughter Amelia with their household animals. Their home was filled with all kinds of furry and not-so-furry creatures that it naturally became an extension of documenting her child's early years. Overtime, this project included other animals outside their home.
Schwartz says that these photographs are a kind of self-portrait, although one done through her daughter. She herself has a strong affinity with animals just like her daughter, but they manifest this relationship with their furry companions in a different way; while the photographer finds it fulfilling to have the companionship of her furry friends, her daughter Amelia has always had an unnatural or rather supernatural way with them.
The animals themselves display an overly curious and affectionate behavior towards her, as if she were one of them. Schwartz's daughter meanwhile displays a very matter-of-fact air while in their midst. This is what makes Schwartz's photographs special; these aren't just your usual cute-pics-of-kids-with-animals but rather a child showing grownups how un-animal these creatures can be.
Ultimately, these images portray a fantasy world filled with wonderfully weird and exotic four-legged friends. While they are indeed snapshots of Amelia's day to day encounters with animals, they are more representative of the photographer's own imaginary world when she was younger, or more accurately, what everybody's fantasy world was when they were younger.
This fantasy is extended into more than just a display of the astonishing relationship possible between species, but also how humans depend and are influenced by animals. In effect, these photographs are testament to how animals make us more human.
More of Amelia's World can be seen on Robin Schwartz's website. You can also see more of these wonderful animal images at tinyvices.com. The photographs have been published in Robin Schwartz: Amelia's World: TinyVices. Her other projects, Dog Watching and Like Us: Primate Portraits have been published as well.