Magazine article The New Yorker

Animal Form

Magazine article The New Yorker

Animal Form

Article excerpt

While most wildlife photography tends to explain things--showing how animals hunt, migrate, breed, and so on--some photographers prefer a more unconventional approach. In Walter Schels's ANIMAL PORTRAITS (Edition Stemmle), a cavalcade of goats, cats, primates, and others get the Avedon treatment, photographed in black-and-white and usually staring straight at the camera. It becomes hard not to read human character into the animals who "sit" for their portraits, when we see, for instance, the quizzical glance of a drooling cheetah, or the sedate, professorial pose of a bear.

If Schels creates portraits, the German photographer Pete Dine, in ANIMALS ON WHITE (Edition Stemmle), transforms his subjects into still-life, painstakingly shooting them in a portable all-white studio. The result highlights not character but form--color, movement, and beauty. …

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