On the Sixth Day.
Photographs by Alessandra Sanguinetti. Essay by Robert Blake.
Nazraeli Press, Tucson, 2005. 80 pp., 61 four-color illustrations, 12x13".
On the sixth day, as recounted in the Bible, God created the creatures of the earth, and man named them. Brilliantly titled in reference to that day, this monograph explores the complex relationship between man and domesticated animals. Sanguinetti’s photographs are absolutely gorgeous and compel the reader to witness the entire life and death cycle of the farm animals of her native Argentina. She reveals a challenging, rural way of life where livestock are raised and consumed as part of a larger, necessary way of living off the land. Most of the photographs are shot from ground level, mimicking an animal’s point of view. Throughout, we see the weatherworn hands and threadbare clothing of the farmers at the edges of the photographs, metaphorically and literally surrounding the animals. Sanguinetti’s aesthetic and color palette draw attention to the beautiful forms of the animals, but she never lets us forget that these animals are captive—living and dying in service to man. Even in the images of the most adorable lambs she resists idealizing, showing them tied together or heading toward a larger herd, and ultimately toward death. In the most gruesome images of skinned animals and bloodied instruments, the photographs tend toward a religious interpretation whereby sacrificial animals serve as a vehicle for human redemption. Thus, without moralizing, Sanguinetti skillfully portrays the lives and deaths of domesticated animals as both a practical and ritual part of human existence. DENISE WOLFF Read Publisher's Description.

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