Animal Portraits.  Photographs by Walter Schels.

Animal Portraits.

Photographs by Walter Schels.
Edition Stemmle/verlag Photograph, Switzerland, 2001. 120 pp., 60 tritone illustrations, 11½x14".

"Walter Schels, a passionate portraitist and photographic researcher of the human physiognomy, was driven by his interest in all creation, his delight in rendering essence and personality visible in a photograph. He has photographed the animals like great portraitists photograph people: mostly using a large-format camera, sometimes in his studio, often outside pens or cages, with great earnestness and a deep desire to capture the very essence of what he is portraying. He has thus achieved something unique in animal photography: astonished and strangely touched, we find ourselves confronted with an animal face that reminds us of human features. The decadence in the face of the cat, the melancholy in the eyes of the monkey, the attentiveness in the gaze of the elephant. The links we make are reminiscent of the dialectics of essence and appearance anticipated in the case of humans by 18th century physiognomists. Walter Schels' black-and-white animal photographs are unique and incomparable."-the publisher.

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