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Fat Cats Star in Irresistible Photos

luigi-4273“Luigi’s a short-haired tabby that I’ve had for over 9 years, and he’s been in a bad mood for most of that time.”

evie“Evie is a mild mannered cat who enjoys chasing shadows and eating the finest pate.”

Cats can be difficult to photograph. Pete Thorne learned that the hard way.

The first cat to sit in his portrait studio fled behind the washing machine and refused to come out; the second squeezed under his couch. From that point on, the photographer understood: he could photograph cats, but he had to do it on their own terms.

A Complex Portrait of Fatherhood in East New York

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Raheem Grant, 39, poses for a portrait with his daughter, Nature Grant. “When I was growing up I didn’ t have a father. My little one, she gets scared of the dark: ‘ You don’ t have to be scared because Daddy is here.’ Just knowing that I am there for them makes me feel like I accomplished a lot.

After spending time in a little-known Brooklyn neighbourhood, East New York, Phyllis Dooney began a project on fatherhood. The area is rife with poverty – a third of residents live below the Federal Poverty Level – and dogged by the ghosts of incarcerations and “the War on Drugs”. The family dynamic is a markedly unusual one, with children spending time variously at different family members’ houses in a “communal child-rearing effort.”

The Secret Bond Shared by Animals and Children, in Photos

Throughout her career, Meera Sulaiman has come face-to-face with a wide array of wild animals, ranging from the giant tortoises of the Galápagos Islands to the trumpeter swans of Ontario. She’s seen the circle of life up-close, witnessing the development of young animals in their native landscapes. She didn’t deliberately set out to photograph animals in captivity, but an encounter she once observed at a local zoo remains embedded in her psyche. A female orangutan and a young girl sat face-to-face, separated by glass, mimicking each other’s gestures. While other adults moved on, she lingered there, and she returned to the subject again and again.

Her project Whispers captures the silent connections that form between children and animals. “Children seem to have a magical affinity with animals, and I see parallels in their worlds,” Sulaiman says. “This series is inspired by my love and fascination with exploring this special, yet little understood, relationship.”

The Loss and Longing of Elderly Women in a Siberian Village

Pudani Audi (born.1948). Pudani was born in the tundra and roamed since birth. In this portrait, she is wearing a fur hat, the sole object she was left with from her wandering days. Pudani Audi: “I feel that my part is over. That I am no longer needed”

A convoy of reindeer, belonging to the Serotetto (white reindeer) family, during their migration over the frozen river of Ob.

In order to visit Yar-Sale, a secluded village deep in Northern Siberia, the photographer Oded Wagenstein spent days traveling: a plane to Moscow, followed by a sixty-hour train journey, and finally, a seven-hour drive to traverse a frozen river. “The first few days were extremely difficult,” he tells me. “On my first night in the tundra, I slept in the tent of an eighty-year-old herder. The tent was filled with smoke from the stove, and the temperature outside was minus 25. Did I already mention that I am asthmatic?” In the end, though, it was all worth it to meet a group of elderly Nenets women who call this unforgiving landscape their home.

Magical Photos from an Isolated Community in the Forests of India

“A long time ago, a flood swept away orphan siblings Lecha and Secha’s village in the mountainous landscape that is now Namdapha National Park & Tiger Reserve,” the New Delhi-based photographer and academic Sharbendu De tells me. “Before the flood came, a bird advised them to hide into a cave and seal its mouth. The flood washed everything away. As the sole survivors, they came out of the cave, but they did not find anyone. They traveled for years in separate directions searching for other survivors.”

He’s recounting a folktale from the Lisu tribe, a group of people who have lived on this remote expanse of land in Arunachal Pradesh, India, close to the border with Myanmar, for generations. The story ends when Lecha and Secha have reached old age. They’ve spent their lives seeking others, and at last, they wind up back where they started. Their paths meet, and recognizing that they are alone, they ask God for permission to wed and start the human race anew.

De sees the tale as a kind of metaphor for the real-life stories of Lisu tribe members in India, who live secluded in the dense forest. Though they are Indian citizens, the Lisu people have experienced decades of isolation, oppression, and loss. In 1983, their ancestral land was converted into a national park without their consent. “They were  declared poachers and encroachers of the land and evicted on occasions,” De writes. “But they always returned to the forests.” Since then, they have survived without access to basic human rights like healthcare and education. Because the forested area is so cut-off from nearby towns and cities, they pay inflated fees for oils, spices, and medicines that must cover great distances to reach them. A journey to the nearest town takes three to six days of arduous trekking. As the photographer puts it, “Life is expensive, and death is cheap.”

Powerful Photos Made with the Ashes of Deceased Shelter Dogs

When I first look at Mary Shannon Johnstone’s Stardust and Ashes photographs, my husband leans over my shoulder and whispers, “Wow, is that the universe?” The pictures look like constellations–Orion, Pegasus, Leo, Canis Major. In fact, they are cyanotypes made using the ashes of cremated dogs from local animal shelters. These dogs, while living, were discarded; they were unable to find homes and families, and they were euthanized.

Cecil the Lion Remembered In Bittersweet Photos

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This is Cecil when he had twenty or more lions in his family. Here, a lioness pays her respects. October 21, 2012.

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This image was taken on the last morning that Brent ever saw Cecil. He and Jericho were interested in something on the other side of the railway line. May 27, 2015.

“On the left is full protection, and on the right is danger,” says photographer and lion researcher Brent Stapelkamp of the railway line that borders Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe. In the summer of 2015, Cecil the 13-year-old Katanga lion was lured onto the wrong side of the tracks, where he was killed, skinned, and decapitated by a trophy hunter. Stapelkamp had tracked Cecil for nearly a decade, and long after media attention moved away from the famous lion, it was the researcher who stayed amongst his pride.

Amazing Portraits Bring Together Asia’s Top Models and Celebrities with Endangered Animals in Cry for Change

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Jennifer Tse, Wild is Life Wildlife sanctuary, Zimbabwe

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Mikki Yao with Asian Elephant, Leuser Ecosystem

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Jocelyn Luko with northern white rhinoceros

Sudan the 42-year-old northern white rhinoceros doesn’t know that he’s the only male remaining of his kind, that his fellows have been driven to extinction by a rhino horn trade that still threatens is life today. He spends his time playing in the mud and lounging in the shade at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya, where he lives with two females under constant watch by armed guards. His horns are kept short to dissuade poachers looking to make a hefty sum. As the only living male, one of four living northern whites, Sudan, whose sperm count has decreased drastically his old age, could be the species’ last hope for survival.

Poignant Portraits and Stories of Farm Animals Who Have Been Rescued from Abusive Situations

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Norman, resident of Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary
“Norman was a veal calf, originally rescued as a baby from an auction by another sanctuary. He came to us as an adult with his girlfriend, a large black Angus cow named Ellie May. Norman and Ellie May were inseparable, always grazing together and sleeping side-by-side in the barn at night. When Ellie May passed away, Norman grieved for weeks, wandering the fields looking for her, and refusing to eat. He even slept on top of her grave. Eventually, he regained his sweet exuberant personality, but he has been a loner amongst the other cows ever since. He is a gentle giant who loves people and enjoys getting treats. His favorites are apples and cinnamon buns.”
– Terry Cummings, co-founder, Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary

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Mata Hari, resident of SASHA Farm
“By the time my Mata Hari came to live at SASHA Farm, she was already a local celebrity. She’d made the news twice, bloggers were following her travels, and she even had her own Facebook fan page. She was ‘The Ann Arbor Sheep,’ an elusive ewe who had managed to evade capture for months as she grazed Ann Arbor parks and cemeteries, stopped traffic at busy intersections, interrupted business meetings and tennis matches and became to some an urban legend.

“She began frequenting a secluded area behind an Art Van Furniture store, and after she seemed ready to stay a while, they began feeding her. When she showed up one day with a badly wounded neck from a dog attack during the night, they feared she might die of infection. After the police and local animal control were unsuccessful in their attempts to catch her, employees called SASHA Farm. A pen was erected behind the building in the spot where they fed her, and the next day, the door was closed and she was on her way to her new home at SASHA Farm.”
– Amanda, SASHA Farm

For Sanctuary: Portraits of Rescued Farm Animals, Florida-based photographer Sharon Lee Hart creates gentle portraits of creatures great and small, all of whom have been delivered from harrowing and abusive situations in live meat markets, cockfighting rings, or slaughterhouses.

Q&A: Mark Leong, Beijing

HANOI, VIETNAM. A captive Asiatic black bear is pumped for bile in a farm outside urban Hanoi.

HANOI, VIETNAM. A captive Asiatic black bear is pumped for bile in a farm outside urban Hanoi.

Mark Leong first traveled to in China in 1989 and has been photographing in Asia ever since. Born and raised in Silicon Valley, he nonetheless missed out on the internet bubble because he was away at the time. His pictures have appeared in Time, Newsweek, Fortune, the New York Times and the New Yorker. He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Foundation and the Fifty Crows International Fund for Documentary Photography. His book, China Obscura, was published in the fall of 2004 by Chronicle Books. These photos are from an assignment for National Geographic Magazine entitled “Asia’s Wildlife Trade“. Mark is represented by Redux Pictures.

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