Robin Schwartz* – Animal Affinity

29.03.2012 in21:37 in Design, Documentary -->


Photography is a means for Amelia to meet animals. Amelia continues to be interested in working on this project, requests animals to meet, contributes concepts and color palettes for each shoot.

Until recently Amelia took for granted meeting animals. She did not realize how unusual her encounters were until everyone we met who knew the photographs told Amelia how lucky she is.

Reactions to my Amelia photographs surprise me, I thought my primate portraits more intense.  Recently I read the blog The Third Ray, which insightfully addresses why sometimes the Amelia photographs elicit concern or are considered surreal.

Amelia and I are continually asked the same questions. The first question everyone asks me or Amelia directly is: “Is Amelia afraid?”  My answer is, Amelia was not taught to fear animals, her siblings are animals. She is comfortable with animals as part of her natural world. Amelia’s answer is “No,” but she does think it sad that other children and adults  are afraid of animals.

The second frequent question is  “has she gotten hurt while being photographed with animals?” What details do people want to hear and why is this asked right after the afraid question? Do they want to appraise my parenting? Our life style with animals? Found out if I use anti-bacterial wipes? This train of thought is intrusive but tells us much about the questioner.

My answer to people with this line of inquiries is that Amelia’s most surprising injury was being bit in the face by a cousin’s dog at a family visit – no photography involved. An experienced pediatric nurse and animal owner, married to a doctor, told me the most frequent and severe injuries children sustain are from cheerleading – I would have thought football.

People are whom I fear, they are the most dangerous and cruelest of animals we encounter. To protect my daughter, I teach her to be cautious of humans and constantly warn Amelia about not getting run over when crossing the street.