ARTIST SERIES

Isa Leshko, Blue, Australian Kelpie, Age 19, I
Blue, Australian Kelpie, Age 19, I
Isa Leshko, Violet, Potbellied Pig, Age 12, I
Violet, Potbellied Pig, Age 12, I
Isa Leshko, Forest, Santa Cruz Sheep, Age
Forest, Santa Cruz Sheep, Age 16
Isa Leshko, Ash, Domestic White Turkey, Age 8
Ash, Broad Breasted White Turkey, Age 8, I
Isa Leshko, Babs, Donkey, Age 24, I
Babs, Donkey, Age 24, I
Isa Leshko, Blue, Australian Kelpie, Age 19, II
Blue, Australian Kelpie, Age 19, II
Isa Leshko, Violet, Potbellied Pig, Age 12, II
Violet, Potbellied Pig, Age 12, II
Isa Leshko, Handsome One, Thoroughbred Horse, Age 33
Handsome One, Thoroughbred Horse, Age 33
Isa Leshko, Zebulon and Isaiah, Finnsheep, Both Age 12
Zebulon and Isaiah, Finnsheep, Both Age 12
Isa Leshko, Marino, Bronze Turkey, Age 5
Marino, Bronze Turkey, Age 5
Isa Leshko, Kelly, Irish Wolfhound, Age 11
Kelly, Irish Wolfhound, Age 11
Isa Leshko, Embden Goose, Age 28, I
Embden Goose, Age 28, I
Isa Leshko, Teresa, Yorkshire Pig, Age 13
Teresa, Yorkshire Pig, Age 13
Isa Leshko, Abe, Alpine Goat, Age 21
Abe, Alpine Goat, Age 21
Isa Leshko, Zebulon, Finnsheep, Age 12
Zebulon, Finnsheep, Age 12
Isa Leshko, Pumpkin, Morgan Arabian Horse, Age 28
Pumpkin, Morgan Arabian Horse, Age 28
Isa Leshko, Phyllis, Southdown Sheep, Age 13
Phyllis, Southdown Sheep, Age 13
Isa Leshko, Red, Chow Mix, Age 14+
Red, Chow Mix, Age 14+
Isa Leshko, Rooster, Age Unknown
Rooster, Age Unknown

Isa Leshko writes:

“For nearly a decade, I have visited farm animal sanctuaries across America to create photographic portraits of geriatric animals. I began this series shortly after caring for my mom who had Alzheimer’s disease. The experience had a profound effect on me and forced me to confront my own mortality. I am terrified of growing old and I started photographing geriatric animals in order to take an unflinching look at this fear. As I met rescued farm animals and heard their stories, though, my motivation for creating this work changed. I became a passionate advocate for these animals and I wanted to use my images to speak on their behalf.

“For each image, I strive to reveal the unique personality of the animal I photograph. Rescued farm animals are often wary of strangers, and it can take several days to develop a comfortable rapport with the animals I photograph. I often spend a few hours lying on the ground next to an animal before taking a single picture. This helps the animal acclimate to my presence and allows me to be fully present as I get to know her. I also work only with natural light to minimize the amount of gear I am carrying in order to be as unobtrusive as possible.

“For this series I have also photographed elderly companion animals. I juxtapose these images with my farm animal portraits to exemplify the similarities among these animals and to invite inquiry into why we pamper some animals and butcher others.

“Nearly all of the farm animals I met for this project endured horrific abuse and neglect prior to their rescue. Yet it is a massive understatement to say that they are the lucky ones. Roughly fifty billion land animals are factory farmed globally each year. It is nothing short of a miracle to be in the presence of a farm animal who has managed to reach old age. Most of their kin die before they are six months old. By depicting the beauty and dignity of elderly farm animals, I invite reflection upon what is lost when these animals are not allowed to grow old.”

Work by Isa Leshko

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