WINCHESTER - Traveling to sanctuary farms all over the country, Isa Leshko creates poignant photographs of animals that have been rescued from enduring situations. Her passion to shed light on factory farms and their negative effects on animals is what drives her work. Leshko attempts to bring each animal’s personality to the forefront through black and white portraits created after spending hours with the animal.
“Allowed to Grow Old” will be on exhibit in the Main Gallery of the Griffin Museum of Photography in Winchester from Oct. 24 – Dec. 6, 2019. An opening reception will take place on Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019, 7 - 8:30 p.m. There will be an artist talk and book signing with Isa Leshko on Nov. 21, 2019 7 - 8:30 p.m.
Isa Leshko elaborates on her work: “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. In order to be as unobtrusive as possible, I do not bring any studio lighting into the animal enclosures and instead work only with natural light.
“Nearly all of the 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.”
Isa Leshko received her BA from Haverford University where she studied cognitive psychology, neurobiology, and gender studies. She later discovered her passion for photography and has since been published in The Atlantic, The Boston Globe, The New York Times and more. Her work has been acquired into the collections of the Boston Public Library, Fidelity Investments, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
The Griffin Museum of Photography is open Tuesday through Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. The museum is closed on Monday. General admission is $7 for adults; $3 for seniors. Members and children under 12 are admitted free. Admission is free to all every Thursday, 2 to 4 p.m. For more information, call 781-729-1158, or visit www.griffinmuseum.org.
Photographs available upon request
About the Griffin Museum
The Griffin Museum of Photography was founded in 1992 to provide a forum for the exhibition of both historic and contemporary photography. The Museum houses four galleries dedicated solely to the exploration of photographic arts: the Main Gallery, which features rotating exhibits from some of the world’s leading photographers; the Atelier Gallery and Griffin Gallery dedicated to showcasing the works of prominent, up-and-coming artists.
The Griffin Museum of Photography also maintains three additional satellite galleries: Lafayette City Center, The Griffin at SoWa, Greater Boston Stage Company (formerly The Stoneham Theatre) in Stoneham, MA, and The Griffin at WinCam in Winchester.
For more on the Griffin Museum of Photography, visit www.griffinmuseum.org