Animals: Photographs by Art Shay
Hardcover: 156 pages
Publisher: University of Illinois Press; First Edition edition (May 3, 2002)
Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 0.8 x 11.2 inches
For thousands of years, humans have pondered the difference between themselves and other animals. 'Reason', say some. 'Souls' say others. More philosophical folk say, 'Taxes'. But few can dispute that animals - like humans, their cousins and neighbours - are among the most sublime wonders of the world we inhabit. These photographs bridge some of the differences by surveying - usually with telephoto lenses - the landscapes that humans and animals share: African jungles, Ohio waterways, the wild streets of New York City and Chicago, circuses, carnivals, zoos from California to Florida, and the sky that arches over all life. Culled from five decades' worth of the acclaimed photographer Art Shay's illustrious body of work, these pictures lovingly and often acerbically capture miraculous moments of creatures great and small, wild and domestic.Artful and moving, they run the gamut of emotions from pity and compassion to laughter and joy. Through Shay's lens, we see snakes slithering among branches decorated with their own molted skins. The hands of man and monkey meet across a Florida zoo fence as a peanut is passed in an interspecies gesture of love. A pampered pooch at a Gay Pride parade gets a drink of expensive bottled water. A mutt returns to his loving master through the wrecked door of what looks like a bombed-out hovel. A lucky lap dog guards her owner's bingo card at a church bazaar.A Chicago woman, not expecting to confront death on her stroll, inspects a dead curbside pigeon. A brave, lost rabbit streaks into the end zone of Soldier Field, more than the nearby Bears were able to do. Louie, a bibulous pig posing for Life magazine, sucks on a can of beer. From behind the bars of her cage a leopard walks in stride with a fashionable zoo-goer clad in a similar, but synthetic, coat. In Shay's often whimsical portraits of his fellow creatures, we recognize our common mammalian foibles. From photograph to photograph, page to page, the ark-like juxtaposition and pairing of images catch the interaction between humans and animals, for better or worse - how we imitate them, and they, in turn, us. By turns compassionate, ironic, and capricious, this masterful collection affirms our abiding fascination with the animal world. Paws, claws, and hooves down, "Animals" is a treasure.