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Allowed to Grow Old.
Portraits of Elderly Animals from Farm Sanctuaries.

Photographs and text by Isa Leshko. Text by Anne Wilkes Tucker and Gene Baur. Foreword by Sy Montgomery.
University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 2019. In English. 208 pp., 48 color illustrations, 9½x10¼".

Signed copies available!

Publisher's Description

There’s nothing quite like a relationship with an aged pet—a dog or cat who has been at our side for years, forming an ineffable bond. Pampered pets, however, are a rarity among animals who have been domesticated. Farm animals, for example, are usually slaughtered before their first birthday. We never stop to think about it, but the typical images we see of cows, chickens, pigs, and the like are of young animals. What would we see if they were allowed to grow old?

Isa Leshko shows us, brilliantly, with this collection of portraits. To create these portraits, she spent hours with her subjects, gaining their trust and putting them at ease. The resulting images reveal the unique personality of each animal. It’s impossible to look away from the animals in these images as they unforgettably meet our gaze, simultaneously calm and challenging. In these photographs we see the cumulative effects of the hardships of industrialized farm life, but also the healing that time can bring, and the dignity that can emerge when farm animals are allowed to age on their own terms.

Each portrait is accompanied by a brief biographical note about its subject, and the book is rounded out with essays that explore the history of animal photography, the place of beauty in activist art, and much more.  Open this book to any page. Meet Teresa, a thirteen-year-old Yorkshire Pig, or Melvin, an eleven-year-old Angora Goat, or Tom, a seven-year-old Broad Breasted White Turkey. You’ll never forget them.

Signed copied will be signed on a sheet tipped-in to the book.

About the Limited Edition. Edition of 15 plus 3 Artist proofs. Price will increase as the edition sells. 

  • Handmade box covered with linen and lined with cotton rag paper

  • Handmade bifold portfolio covered with vintage kyoseishi paper

  • Archival Pigment Print signed verso by Isa Leshko in pencil

  • Letterpress printed colophon signed by Isa Leshko and bookbinder Rebecca Fisher Staley

  • Hardcover copy of Allowed to Grow Old signed by Isa Leshko


Cat# UC213H Hardbound [Signed] $45.00 (978-0226391373)
In Stock! Usually ships in 1 business day.

Cat# UC213L Limited Edition $1,600.00 (978-0226391373)
Backorder this item. Domestic titles usually ship in 2-3 weeks; Foreign: 4-8 weeks.


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