Allowed to Grow Old: Portraits of Elderly Animals from Farm Sanctuaries By Isa Leshko
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Author: Isa Leshko

Reviewed by: Marc Bekoff, Psychology Today / Animal Emotions

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

Pig Teresa
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ISBN 022639137X (ISBN13: 9780226391373)


A few months ago I was asked to write an endorsement for award-winning photographer Isa Leshko's forthcoming book Allowed to Grow Old: Portraits of Elderly Animals from Farm Sanctuaries. I remember beginning to flip through the manuscript and accompanying biographies of each of these amazing nonhuman animals (i.e., animals), calling off plans for the night, and totally diving into this magnificent and heartwarming book. I wrote: Allowed to Grow Old is a priceless and heartfelt tribute in stunning images and moving words to elderly farmed animals—senior citizens—who had previously lived horrific lives. This beautiful book clearly reveals the individuality of each animal photographed, and shows that farmed animals are no different from the companion animals with whom we share our lives. They are sentient beings with unique characters and personalities, who simply want to live out their lives with lots of love and in peace and safety. As an ethologist who has studied the emotional lives of a wide variety of animals, I could easily feel what each individual was feeling when they were photographed, and could well imagine the lives they have led.

About the Author:

Isa Leshko is an artist and writer whose images have been published in The Atlantic, The Boston Globe, Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, The Guardian, Harper's Magazine, The New York Times, and Süddeutsche Zeitung. Her work has been supported by the Bogliasco Foundation, the Culture & Animals Foundation, the Houston Center for Photography, the Millay Colony for the Arts, and the Silver Eye Center for Photography.

Isa, whose full name is Isabell Carmella, grew up in Carteret, New Jersey, in an Italian-American working class family. She attended Haverford College, where she studied cognitive psychology, neurobiology, and gender studies. She spent a decade working for startups before she discovered her passion for photography. She currently lives in Salem, Massachusetts, with her domestic partner, Matt Kleiderman, and their cats Alfred and Higgins. Isa has also lived in Houston, Texas; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Providence, Rhode Island.

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