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For thousands of years, humans have pondered the difference between themselves and other animals. 'Reason', say some. 'Souls' say others. More philosophical folk say, 'Taxes'. But few can dispute that animals - like humans, their cousins and neighbours - are among the most sublime wonders of the world we inhabit. These photographs bridge some of the differences by surveying - usually with telephoto lenses - the landscapes that humans and animals share: African jungles, Ohio waterways, the wild streets of New York City and Chicago, circuses, carnivals, zoos from California to Florida, and the sky that arches over all life. Culled from five decades' worth of the acclaimed photographer Art Shay's illustrious body of work, these pictures lovingly and often acerbically capture miraculous moments of creatures great and small, wild and domestic.Artful and moving, they run the gamut of emotions from pity and compassion to laughter and joy. Through Shay's lens, we see snakes slithering among branches decorated with their own molted skins. The hands of man and monkey meet across a Florida zoo fence as a peanut is passed in an interspecies gesture of love. A pampered pooch at a Gay Pride parade gets a drink of expensive bottled water. A mutt returns to his loving master through the wrecked door of what looks like a bombed-out hovel. A lucky lap dog guards her owner's bingo card at a church bazaar.A Chicago woman, not expecting to confront death on her stroll, inspects a dead curbside pigeon. A brave, lost rabbit streaks into the end zone of Soldier Field, more than the nearby Bears were able to do. Louie, a bibulous pig posing for Life magazine, sucks on a can of beer. From behind the bars of her cage a leopard walks in stride with a fashionable zoo-goer clad in a similar, but synthetic, coat. In Shay's often whimsical portraits of his fellow creatures, we recognize our common mammalian foibles. From photograph to photograph, page to page, the ark-like juxtaposition and pairing of images catch the interaction between humans and animals, for better or worse - how we imitate them, and they, in turn, us. By turns compassionate, ironic, and capricious, this masterful collection affirms our abiding fascination with the animal world. Paws, claws, and hooves down, "Animals" is a more

Product details

  • Hardback | 156 pages
  • 261.1 x 285 x 18.8mm | 1,065.95g
  • University of Illinois Press
  • Baltimore, United States
  • English
  • 0252027426
  • 9780252027420

Review quote

"Whimsical some of these black and white photographs are, but there isn't a shred of sentimentality in any of them... [Shay] has sought out the rich ironies of serendipitous happenings, as befits a true working grabshooter -- a photographer whose mission it is to capture the days news, not to pretty it up... This book is a Chicago treasure, just like Shay." -- Henry Kisor, Chicago Sun-Times Showcase "A lively and poignant collection of images of people and their relations to animals. Contradicting the maudlin view of the man-nature connection, the images in Animals disclose the complex and self-projecting habits we exhibit, in all their clarity." -- Doubletake "Shay ... has shot something like 25,000 photographs, many of them for Life and Time magazines... But he'd prefer to be shot himself, he said, before he'd produce a book of dogs dressed up like humans... What is needed when approaching animals is the antic eye of a New Yorker cartoonist." -- Jon Anderson, Chicago Tribune "Unravels the beauty of the animal world in the context of human lives." -- Fore Word "Funny, moving and occasionally provocative... Shay, whose photos have appeared in virtually every major magazine, journeys around the world for these wonderful shots, almost all of which reflect a sensibility that is at once engaged and amused... A delightful book." -- The Globe and Mail "A collection drawn from five decades of the photographer's work celebrates animals with humans in natural and domestic settings, from the image of a man passing a peanut to a monkey to a pig drinking a can of beer, in a volume that also seeks to reveal the animal within human beings." -- Forecast ADVANCE PRAISE "Art Shay has illustrated a sensitivity toward animals and their relationships with people and their environments that is as magnificent as wildlife itself. The photographs are simply wonderful. I would encourage anyone who cares about animals to buy this book." -- Kevin Bell, president and chief executive officer, Lincoln Park Zoo "Art Shay is an American original and his photographs show an eye and an imagination that can look around corners." -- Roger Ebert "Chicago's Art Shay in many ways is to American photography as Nelson Algren was to American writing: that rare and absolutely necessary citizen who's blessed with a cold eye, a clear head, and a warm heart. What is it about Chicago that keeps giving us men like this?" -- Russell Banks "The backgrounds make me nostalgic for the Chicago of my youth, and the subjects for a pristine world before the evolution of the opposing thumb." -- David Mamet "The best images of Simone de Beauvoir and her times have been passed down to us by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Gisele Freund, Robert Doisneau, Georges Brassai, and in America, the Chicago-based Art Shay, all world-class photographers." -- Christophe Lovinyshow more

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