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The limited-edition photograph Animal (276), 2014, is from San Francisco-based artist Elliot Ross’s forthcoming book Other Animals, a sequel to his 2010 book Animal. Intrigued by a portrait of his late cat, Ross wondered whether or not the cat consciously looked into the camera while the photograph was being taken. Ross then began to ask himself questions such as, “What was the cat thinking?” and, “In what ways is the consciousness of an animal different from that of a human being?”
For the images in this series, Ross digitally removes the animals from their environments, depicting them without defined context, in a space where the figure has little if any background. “I try to see every animal in a new and fresh way, without any preconceived notions. At this very moment they are all individuals—they are not meant to represent the whole species,” Ross explains. This approach is founded on his empathy for all other beings. “I believe this individually constructed relationship with the creature can give us humans the strongest feeling for other beings on this planet.”
Going on to photograph animals from around the world, Ross creates images laden with emotion. He discards their environmental surroundings and uses an almost painterly approach in post-production, leaving us with these beautifully isolated and powerful portraits.

Elliot Ross (born in Chicago) was awarded his Master of Fine Arts from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1971. Ross is represented by Schilt Publishing Gallery, Amsterdam; Alan Klotz Gallery, New York; and Davis Orton Gallery, Hudson, New York. His work is in several private and public collections, most notably the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris.

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