Through a wonderful comment I received today from a woman who owns what looks like an awesome vegan store (online store here) called the Cow Jones Industrials Boutique in Chatham, NY, and following a trail through her fascinating blog to a documentary about animals called “ghosts in the machine”, I found an interview with photographer Jo Anne McArthur, which led me to her website where all her photographs can be seen.
Wow. I feel so filled with emotion. Her photographs are so moving and powerful. Each one captures a moment which says so many things that can’t be said.
Allow me to attempt to explain.
Looking through her set of photographs on Greyhound Racing, I saw this picture.
Through her series of photos you learn that these greyhounds are treated like machines, boxed up in tiny boxes with muzzles on all the time. Then you see this photo. In this photo you see a little girl and a dog, with its muzzle on, share a single moment or two of dog like love and connection, but then it is back to their boxes. I see in this photo a dog with the eyes of a slave looking out at someone offering it love and affection. Who knows what the dog is really thinking, but when viewed in larger form, you feel it! The photos at the end of the greyhound rescue agency where dogs wait to be adopted made me cry. It made me want to adopt a dog–tonight!!
I have looked through many sets of her photos documenting different things like animal sanctuaries, companion animals, zoos, a gorilla rescue organization, animal cruelty investigators, and one called “good intentions”. What remains for me to see are the sets of photos of more obvious cruelty, like mink farms, factory farms, research and vivisection (im scared to look at this), the culture of bullfighting, etc.
From what I’ve seen so far, I know those photos are going to hurt to look at.
And yet the photos are so amazing, they are works of art in addition to documenting the suffering. They are powerful in a somehow wonderful way. It makes me realize how much art can do to shake people up and change them.
Here are some examples of her photographs I found on google images, though her sets of photos are extremely powerful when viewed in their entirety. She writes great captions as well which explain everything. You gotta see em.
This is true photography.
There were so many more amazing photographs documenting in the most terrifyingly powerful way the suffering and cruelty and situations animals endure all over the world, but I will leave those to you to seek out if you so choose.
Here is the link Jo-Anne McArthur’s site is called We Animals where you can see all these works of art.
Here is the interview with her that I found her site through.
An excerpt from the interview:
OHH: Do you have an all-time favorite photograph that you’ve taken?
JM: There are a few. One illustrates my look at our good intentions towards animals, gone wrong. I was photographing a young boy at a matador school in Spain. He must have been about 6. I asked him why he wanted to become a matador. He answered “Because I love bulls.”