In her series "Elderly Animals", Isa Leshko traveled to sanctuaries across the USA to photograph animals who are elderly or at the end stage of their lives. The result are touching and heartbreaking images, where old animals look tired and defeated, with melancholic eyes. About her process, Isa says:
"In order to achieve a sense of intimacy in these portraits, I spend several hours with the animals I photograph and I try to visit them multiple times. Depending on the animal, I may spend an hour or so simply lying on the ground next to the creature before I take a single image. This approach helps the animal acclimate to my presence and it allows me to observe the animal without being focused on picture taking."
This series, with its touching images, also makes us wonder about our own aging. It began after the Isa to spent one year helping her sister to take care of their mother, who has Alzheimer. This experience had a profound impact and forced the artist to confront her own mortality:
"I am creating these photographs in order to take an unflinching look at aging and mortality. My maternal grandmother had dementia during her later years, and now my mom has it. I am scared of developing Alzheimer’s disease and I get nervous whenever I lose my keys or forget a person’s name. Photographing geriatric animals enables me to immerse myself in my fear of growing old. I have come to realize that these images are self-portraits. Or at the very least, they are manifestations of my fears and hopes about what I will be like when I am old."
Appreciate the beautiful and touching photography of elderly animals by Isa Leshko:
"Handsome One", thoroughbred horse, age 33
Finn sheep, age 12
"Blue", australian kelpie dog, age 19
Rooster, age unknown
"Pumpkin", morgan arabian horse, age 28
Finn sheep, both ages 12
"Ash", domestic white turkey, age 8
"Abe", alpine goat, age 21
"Teresa", yorkshire pig, age 13
"Kelly", irish wolfhound dog, age 11
"Phyllis", southdown sheep, age 12
"Sierra", white holland turkey, age 3
"Red", chow mix dog, age +14
"Violet", potbellied pig, age 12
Embden goose, age 28
"Kiri", great plains wolf, age 17
Images from Isa Leshko's website. Indicated by Beautiful/Decay - Heartbreaking, Beautiful Images Of Elderly Animals.