You can read all about Mona on the latest blog post for the One Language Project. It’s a beautiful tribute to her and will be featured in future exhibits. Stay tuned!
I am so excited to share this new video I made with Jim James and his dog Emmy. Please share with dog lovers and animal lovers and stay tuned for many more stories to come.
This is a respost of the latest on the new naturestage blog for the One Language Project. If you’d like the latest videos and audio slideshows delivered to your inbox, please “follow” this new blog for our project closest to home. Your dog (or other pet) can be featured here too. Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more or just to make a tax-deductible donation to the project so that more people can participate. We are gathering stories people have about the animals in their lives for a variety of venues – radio and photo essays.
Many many thanks to Caroline from the wonderful pcatsitting and dogwalking company urbanpawprint for sharing her stories in this video.
In line with the mission of the One Language Project, here is the link to today’s Washington Post article.
…and two photos of Gretta, whose owner told me that she rescued her from a puppy mill breeder, and that she hadn’t been adopted because of her wandering eye.
…and Diesel, whose owner told me that the bond between them was so strong, that Diesel wouldn’t let anyone else care for him.
TEN FAVORS A DOG ASKS FROM A MAN
1) My life lasts between ten to fifteen years. Every separation from you means suffering for me. Think about this before you decide whether or not to take me!
2) Give me time to understand what you are asking from me.
3) Instill confidence in me – I thrive on it!
4) Do not be angry with me for a long time and do not lock me up for punishment! You have your work, your pleasure, your joy – I have only you.
5) Talk often to me! Even if I do not understand you completely, I do understand the tone of your voice when you talk to me.
6) Know that, no matter how I am being treated, I shall never forget it!
7) Keep in mind, before you hit me , that my jaws could crush the knuckles of your hand with ease, but that I do not make use of them.
8) Before you scold me when working with me, consider: perhaps I am uncomfortable from digesting my last meal; perhaps I was exposed to the sun too long; or perhaps I have a worn-out heart.
9) Take care of me when I am old — you too are going to be old one day.
10) Be with me when my going gets rough. Everything is easier for me when you are beside me.
One Language: For the Love of Dogs – is phase one of an expanding and ongoing exploration of the one language we share with with other species and one another – emotion.
I am absolutely thrilled to combine my love for photography, video and audio storytelling with the mission of Naturestage in this project which encapsulates much of my most recent work and which I think has the power to engage people in conversations about our role alongside the other species on the planet.
Here are photos from today’s new installation in the Dakota Puffin Dog Boutique on Charles Street in Boston. Many thanks to Nicole, the owner, for giving us wall space for the exhibit, and to the owners of the dogs who wrote heart-felt short essays and allowed me to photograph their wonderful dogs. It brings me so much joy to discover the stories of these animals through the eyes and hearts of their owners, and to involve more and more people and their pets in this project. We hope the idea will attract backers for parts of this project which will help bring the exhibit to different spaces and cover the cost of taking the photos and reproducing them on the canvases.
Here is where you come in. If you have a dog or know someone who has a story to share about their dog, please consider becoming part of this exhibition as it reproduces for the walls of office buildings, dental offices, restaurants, galleries, libraries, hospitals and schools. I will take photos of your dog on location and then work with you to write a short paragraph or two about how your dog has changed your life. One goal of the project is to bring the connection we share with other animals into mainstream conversation and shed light on our conflicting treatment of animals in society and how to build empathy, understanding and respect for those beings which rely on us to take their interests to heart. One Language – For the Love of Dogs, opened today!
Elephants Cry Too
By Kevin Choi | Apr 25th, 2012
If you want to see an elephant, chances are you’ll end up at a circus or a zoo. However, if you want to truly see how elephants behave in the wild, you don’t need to search very hard. Elephants are quite similar to humans.
“Elephants, like us, cry in grief,” Miranda Loud, classical musician, documentary filmmaker, and founder of NatureStage (a non-profit arts organization for animals) said at her live, multimedia lecture Thursday night in the Kenmore Class Building.
Image courtesy of Miranda Loud
There’s no doubt that elephants are among the more intelligent species of the animal kingdom. They, like chimpanzees and dolphins, exhibit a wide variety of behaviors, including those associated with grief, learning, mimicry, art, play, humor, compassion, memory, and altruism. It’s a shame that such complex creatures as elephants face extinction due to poaching.
Loud challenges the public to rethink sustainability and animal preservation to help protect elephants from hunters and other humans. Do we really want to be on a planet without these elephants? She humored listeners at the lecture with her question “Don’t all alphabet books have the letter E for elephant?”
The problem is not only poaching. Loud believes that elephants recognize captivity, danger, and exploitation. When an elephant is incarcerated, as in a zoo or circus, they are aware of their condition. Strangely enough, elephants also have to be taught to become elephants. The problem, then, is that elephants in captivity do not always pick up on vital elephant skills. For the most part, elephants that live in zoos live in unnatural environments, under physical and psychological conditions that are not quite the same as those in the wild.
Loud spoke of an elephant that gave birth in a zoo. The mother later suffocated the calf because she did not know how to take care of it. The elephant had no maternal intuition, a trait that is often passed down from other elephants.
Loud has plenty of sad stories about elephants, but that doesn’t mean that we are only left with tears. Empathy is what Loud wants us to understand. Throughout her lecture, she deftly transposed elephant emotion into human emotion.
However, the spark of the lecture came toward the end, when Loud introduced her new project, The Elephant Project. The Elephant Project is an art-based, transcontinental online curriculum for young children. It is essentially a viral platform for children around the world to share ideas about elephants and other animal species. It begins with twenty short films viewable online. Students can respond to the videos as homework either in an artistic or written form. Her hope is that the arts can help nurture children and adults to become more emotionally connected with elephants and other animal species.
The idea is pragmatic and smart. Instead of busily protesting, Loud is content on sharing her unrequited love for elephants with children. She is aiming at the heart.
If you are interested about elephants, animal preservation, or global awareness, you can reach Miranda Loud through either her NatureStage or personal website.
One of my friends has truly the most extraordinary collection of books of anyone I know, and I confess, I’ve photographed her books (with her permission). I thought maybe you’d be interested in some of the books lining my shelves, covering topics from fundraising in the arts, to empathy and compassion, economics, essays by naturalists, poetic writings on nature and animals, etc.
Chicago Ideas Week hosted four award-winning photographers, giving them a platform to talk about their work and share some of their spectacular photographs from the National Geographic, Chicago Tribune, and others. I transcribed much of what they said, although without the images to accompany their words it obviously has much less impact. What struck me about all four was their focus on relationships, whether between human and non-human animal, people of different cultures, men and women, people and the earth. Their images are stunning. I encourage you to check out each of their websites and google them to see more of their photographs. A picture says a thousand words.
Jim Richardson: Everyone is a photographer and it’s the language we speak. Out in Kansas, my wife and I have a gallery and every so often people come through and they walk down the wall and they see all the images I”ve taken from around the country and I can see one of two questions coming. The first one is easy to answer – do you actually go to the places you photograph? Honest to God, that is the question. And I go, yes, that’s the way it works. We actually go there.
The second question is more difficult because they say “what’s your favorite thing to photograph?” They mean do you do sports, weddings, nature, wildlife, culture? I often puzzle about that because I do all these things. I do what is necessary to tell the story and particularly I like unsung stories. I like stories no one else would pay attention to if I didn’t. The stories are the leverage by which I take the photography and hopefully do something that in some remote way might move somebody and provide that fulcrum point to help leverage the pictures into action and impact.
I want to start out our presentation today with how pictures tell stories Continue reading