The Rough Skin of the Elephant (La piel ruda del elefante, 2013-2015) is the title of a series by the Catalan photographer Pàtric Marín which pictures surprising scenarios of animals escaped from the zoo and trapped inside various spaces in a city – a parking lot and other charmless locations. The photographs caught my attention immediately, apart from being thoroughly well executed, moving, and tragic, they are in perfect harmony with zoowithoutanimals. They are wonderful, see for yourself:
See more of Pàtric’s work in Fotografia a Catalunya
In The Unberable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera describes an encounter between Tereza and one of her neighbours while she walked with her beloved dying dog, Karenin:
“Along the way, they met a neighbour who was hurrying off to a cow shed in her rubber boots. The woman stopped long enough to ask. ‘What’s wrong with the dog? It seems to be limping. ‘He has cancer,’ said Tereza. ‘There’s no hope.’ And the lump in her throat kept her from going on. The woman noticed Tereza’s tears and nearly lost her temper: ‘Good heavens! Don’t tell me you’re going to bawl your head off over a dog!’ She was not being vicious; she was a kind woman and merely wanted to comfort Tereza. Tereza understood, and had spent enough time in the country to realize that if the local inhabitants loved every rabbit as she loved Karenin, they would be unable to kill any of them and they and their animals would soon starve to heath. Still, the woman’s words struck her as less than friendly. ‘I understand,’ she answered without protest, but quickly turned her back and went her way. The love she bore her dog made her feel cut off, isolated. With a sad smile, she told herself that she needed to hide it more than she would an affair. People are indignant at the thought of someone loving a dog. But if the neighbour had discovered that Tereza had been unfaithful to Tomas, she would have given Tereza a playful pat on the back as a sign of secret solidarity.”
Kundera also talks about man’s dominion over animals:
“The very beginning of Genesis tells us that God created man in order to give him dominion over fish and fowl and all creatures. Of course, Genesis was written by a man, not a horse. There is no certainty that God actually did grant man dominion over other creatures. What seems more likely, in fact, is that man invented God to sanctify the dominion he had usurped for himself over the cow and the horse. Yes, the right to kill a deer or a cow is the only thing that mankind can agree upon, even during the bloodiest of wars. The reason we take that right for granted is that we stand at the top of that hierarchy. But let a third party enter the game –a visitor from another planet, for example, someone to whom God says, ‘Thou shalt have dominion over creatures of all other stars’ — and all at once taking Genesis for granted becomes problematical. Perhaps a man hitched to the cart of a Martian or roasted on the spit by inhabitants of the Milky Way will recall the veal cutlet he used to slice on his dinner plate and apologize (belatedly!) to the cow.”
French photographer Charles Fréger captures the beautiful costumed elephants at the elephant festival in Jaipur, India:
Molly Peacock — Desire
It doesn’t speak and it isn’t schooled,
like a small foetal animal with wettened fur.
It is the blind instinct for life unruled,
visceral frankincense and animal myrrh.
It is what babies bring to kings,
an eyes-shut, ears-shut medicine of the heart
that smells and touches endings and beginnings
without the details of time’s experienced part-
fit-into-part-fit-into-part. Like a paw,
it is blunt; like a pet who knows you
and nudges your knee with its snout—but more raw
and blinder and younger and more divine, too,
than the tamed wild—it’s the drive for what is real,
deeper than the brain’s detail: the drive to feel.