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It started as a form of therapy for photographer Isa Leshko, a way of dealing with her mother’s Alzheimer’s and her own fear of mortality. However, her project photographing elderly animals has gone beyond just herself. Through it she captures the essence of life in each animal — the strengths and defeats, the happiness and sadness.

As Leshko explains in the video below, it all began a year or so after taking care of her parents. While visiting a relative’s farm, she noticed a very old horse and fell in love with him, and eventually took his photo. From here, her passion began to snowball and she started taking photos of elderly pets with a special emphasis on elderly farm animals.

In the artist statement on her site, Leshko explains that many of her subjects are actually animals who have been rescued from factory farms. Many of them have been genetically modified to age quicker to make it to slaughter faster. Therefore, they reach an elderly stage at a much earlier age than heirloom varieties.

Besides using photography as a form of her own therapy, she also wants her work to have an impact on viewers.

As she states on her website, “I … want my images to inspire greater empathy toward animals, particularly farm animals. It is very rare for a farm animal to actually live its full natural lifespan given that most of these animals experience brutality and death early in their lives. By depicting the beauty and dignity of these creatures in their later years, I want to encourage people to question and challenge the way farm animals are currently treated.”

When you see these photos, you get a sense of sadness but also an incredible sense of respect as many of the animals in her portraits have been able to live long lives despite some painful and unhappy experiences. However, take a moment to think about how many elderly farm animals you actually see or have seen. It’s probably not many and what does that say about how we treat these animals?

Isa Leshko is still traveling to create new images for this project, and so we will surely see more of her amazing photos in the future. In the mean time, we’ll leave you with her project video below and this question: don’t we all — both human and non-human alike — deserve to the chance to reach a ripe old age in peace?

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34 comments on “This Photographer’s Stunning Photos of Elderly Animals Will Touch Your Soul (VIDEO)”

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Pinky Lee Thompson
4 Years Ago

wow! whole new perspective now thanks chica....

Diane Cheely Hardt
4 Years Ago

aw. sad .. and yet part of "the circle of life" (you know I had to get a disney quote in there..)

Linda Brown
4 Years Ago

Reminds us all of the reason we never see elderly pigs, sheep, cows, and hens.

Jodi Irvin
4 Years Ago

Wow, this reminds me a lot of myself

Nathalie van Egmond
4 Years Ago

Also makes me sad and makes me think of the billions of animals who are unnecessary killed for food before they even reach adolescence .

Allison Beach
4 Years Ago

Diane Kettlewell-Kaelberer

Jeanette Fiore
4 Years Ago

Deeply touching

Rhonda Jobson
4 Years Ago

Simply...beautiful. To see these animals and all that the aging process has to offer in the final year, the final days reminds me of our, my limited time here. I believe in giving respect to the elderly, for all they have experienced, for their pain and suffering for what each of us will endure. I believe they should be given the respect and treatment we ourselves will hope for in our final year, our final days. I love this.

Elizabeth Fodrie
4 Years Ago

Beautiful video!! very touching :)

Linda Wark
4 Years Ago

Such a beautiful perspective - testiment to survival & endurance


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