Robin Schwartz – Amelia’s Animal Affinity
“My photographs are drawn from real journeys undertaken with my daughter, Amelia. I am driven to depict relationships with animals but the photographs are not documents; they are evidence of the invented worlds that we explore and the fables we enact together. Photography gives us the opportunity to access our dreams, to discover the extraordinary.
Animals and interspecies relationships have always been an important part of my work. The animals in my photographs are not represented as beasts or nobility but as part of our everyday world. My first monograph, a series of primates at home with humans, guided me to the places of my own childhood fantasies.
I photograph myself with animals through Amelia. I am an only child who has an only child. Each of us has a strong fantasy world. Amelia and I play out our eccentricities in worlds where she and animals not only co-exist, but also interact. Animals are not props in my photographs and they are not photo-shopped in. The world that my daughter and I explore is one where the line between human and animal overlaps or is blurred.
Amelia and I both a strong connection to animals, but we are very different. I have always been obsessed with animals, having a necessity their company, driven to have animals in all aspects of my life and work. I work at my relationship to animals. Amelia is not driven or obsessed in my way, she is not self-conscious with animals as I am. Amelia has a remarkable comfort level with animals and they with her. Amelia is oblivious that this is a usual gift.
An artist photographing her child can invite ridicule, but getting personal with my projects has always been both my need and my edge. The Amelia’s World project has evolved with my daughter’s maturing personality and aptitude. Amelia is my priority, my muse, my co-conspirator, my tormentor and my bliss. Collaborating with Amelia, I am able to go to any place in time.”
see more on the artist’s website