Brain Pickings

More Than Human: Tim Flach’s Striking Portraits of Animals

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Sentient beings like you’ve never seen them before.

“Erasing the awe-inspiring variety of sentient life impoverishes all our lives,” historian Joanna Bourke wrote in her poignant meditation on what it means to be human. And yet our relationship with animals and our understanding of their inner lives remain inadequate at best.

In 2010, photographer Tim Flach gave us his extraordinary dog portraits. This year, he’s back with More Than Human (UK; public library) — a collection of striking, expressive portraits of our non-human fellow beings, captured with equal parts tenderness and aesthetic elegance.

Despite the sciency sterility of his words, perhaps Darwin was ultimately right in a broader philosophical sense when he reflected in The Descent of Man:

The difference in mind between man and the higher animals, great as it is, is certainly one of degree and not of kind. We have seen that the senses and intuitions, the various emotions and faculties, such as love, memory, attention, curiosity, imitation, reason, etc., of which man boasts, may be found in an incipient, or even sometimes in a well-developed condition, in the lower animals.

See more of Flach’s breathtaking work on his site and treat yourself to the full glory of More Than Human, for the screen hardly does it justice.

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