Anyone who’s had the privilege of spending time with an animal knows that their brain wheels are constantly turning. You only need to look into their eyes or take a good gander at their expressive faces and it’s incredibly obvious that there’s an entire world of thought going on – just like in humans.

Belgian photographer Vincent Lagrange noticed this and set out to show the world with his photo series “Human Animal.” “Today most people photograph just people,” says Lagrange, ‘‘but only a few photograph animals … I tried to photograph the animals as humans, depicting their emotion and human-like characteristics in a sombre way.’’

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While the setting and lighting often takes on a more sombre tone, it only serves to allow the subject’s mindset and personality to shine through. While some of the animals in his work appear contemplative in the moment, others can’t hide their innate playfulness and happy natures. Still others seem to have an air of mischief about them as if they’re actively plotting a prank.

Photos like these help to clearly demonstrate that no matter the animal  – human, reptile, canine, feline, bovine, etc. – there’s a deep level of sentience that is observable if we allow ourselves to look. And with animals as wonderful as these, who wouldn’t want to look?

“That cat’s back in my yard again…I’m gonna have to think of a strategy here, clearly my current process of charging her while bark/screaming is exactly what she wants.”

A Photographer's Portrayal of Animals Highlights Their Intelligence and Expressive Natures

“Just so we’re both on the same page, I can still see you even though I’m facing forward. Keep that in mind.”

A Photographer's Portrayal of Animals Highlights Their Intelligence and Expressive Natures

“In all fairness, Sheldon really should have been more demonstrative to Amy. On the flip side though, you’ve got to accept people how they are. Oh man, this whole situation is just fraught with heartbreak.”  

A Photographer's Portrayal of Animals Highlights Their Intelligence and Expressive Natures

“Whatcha doin’ with that big, flashy thing? It’s a camera? Oooh, take the picture over here – this is my good side.”

A Photographer's Portrayal of Animals Highlights Their Intelligence and Expressive Natures

“What’s that? Can I eat it? Should I chew it? Maybe I’ll pounce it. That’s pretty much my “new thing” repertoire. “

A Photographer's Portrayal of Animals Highlights Their Intelligence and Expressive Natures

“Is that…I could have sworn that I heard – wait….yes, that’s the can opener. Oh my god, it’s the can opener.”

A Photographer's Portrayal of Animals Highlights Their Intelligence and Expressive Natures

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“Great men are not born great, they grow great.”

A Photographer's Portrayal of Animals Highlights Their Intelligence and Expressive Natures

“How long do you need me to sit here before I can lay down and go back to sleep? Will 15 seconds do it? Cuz, that’s about all I’ve got left in the tank.”

A Photographer's Portrayal of Animals Highlights Their Intelligence and Expressive Natures

“Bleh, get those weird treats away from me. Can’t you make the homemade ones again? They’ve kind of ruined me for those cardboard tasting ones you buy at the store.”

A Photographer's Portrayal of Animals Highlights Their Intelligence and Expressive Natures

“Oh wow, this season of The Bachelorette is getting juicyyyyy.”

A Photographer's Portrayal of Animals Highlights Their Intelligence and Expressive Natures

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“A feather on a stick? Seriously? That’s the bit of diversion you’ve chosen to engage me with? Human, you must understand, I’m far too sophisticated for that. Now, where did that red dot on the wall from last night go? That, my friend, is my white whale.”

A Photographer's Portrayal of Animals Highlights Their Intelligence and Expressive Natures

“I FIND YOUR PRESENCE OFF-PUTTING!”

A Photographer's Portrayal of Animals Highlights Their Intelligence and Expressive Natures

“It’s political season again? Hmph. Time to start screening all of my calls again. Stupid roto-dialers. 

A Photographer's Portrayal of Animals Highlights Their Intelligence and Expressive Natures

“Did you see the second Pitch Perfect? Bahahaha, Rebel Wilson is a comedic treasure!”

A Photographer's Portrayal of Animals Highlights Their Intelligence and Expressive Natures

All image source: Vincent Lagrange