Animals

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Stunning Close-Up Photos of the Natural World From ‘Animal Earth’

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In Animal Earth: The Amazing Diversity of Living Creatures, zoologist Ross Piper shares stunning photos of the animals who are the building blocks of our world. His photos capture a side of the animal kingdom we don’t see so often, and in this gorgeous book, we get new appreciation for the little guys and the microscopic specks of dust who are essential to the evolution of humanity and the earth. The book’s available March 20, but Thames and Hudson were kind enough to share an exclusive gallery of photos — click through for our favorites.
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The Celebrity Cats and Dogs of 2014

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It’s no secret that cats and dogs dominate the Internet (though cats would take issue with that statement). Throughout the year, adorable photos and heartwarming stories about feline fuzzballs and canine companions distracted us from the daily grind. They became celebrities. With the end of the year in sight, we felt it was only proper to give the most popular pussycats and pups their due. Here are some of the greatest cats and dogs that ruled our hearts in 2014. There is an endless supply of adorbs in the animal department, so be sure to mention any personal favorites, below.
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Photo credit: Kevin Horan, 'Sydney #3'

Striking Black-and-White Portraits of Sheep and Goats

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When it comes to portraits of animals, photographers usually know better than to try to get a cat to sit still for the camera. Most felines don’t have the patience, or paycheck, of Grumpy Cat. Dogs are a favorite subject for shutterbugs — from pups underwater and adorable pit bulls showing off the beauty of their breed, to dog beauty pageants and wet dogs mid-bath. But what about the rest of the animal kingdom?

Washington-based photographer Kevin Horan, who we learned about on Inspiration Now, has devoted attention to the goats and sheep on and around Whidbey Island — home to several farms, beautiful parks, and a nature reserve. Goats get a bad rep due to their association with Satanism. And those horns and horizontal pupils can be a little unnerving. But Horan reveals the humorous and majestic side of the goat and sheep. They’re all goofy grins, adorable beards, dramatic poses, and gorgeous manes.
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The Wolfen Book Covers of Jack London

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“He was sounding the deeps of his nature, and of the parts of his nature that were deeper than he, going back into the womb of Time,” wrote Jack London in his 1903 classic novel The Call of the Wild. The story centers on a dog named Buck who is sold off and shipped to the Klondike to be trained as a sled dog. The harsh conditions and treatment ignite his primitive, wolflike ways — and he becomes the story’s mythical hero. London’s 1906 novel White Fang finds a wolfdog on the journey to domesticity. The author’s experiences as a “hobo,” sailor, and journalist took him to faraway places — many which become the settings for his stories. “It was in the Klondike I found myself,” he wrote while reflecting on his days in the Yukon Territory. London always had a penchant for dogs and animals, and his cold-weather travels found him surrounded by them. The wolves and dogs of London’s stories made their way to the covers of his books, which we’ve collected in memory of the author.
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Cinema’s Talking Animal Ids, Ranked

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“There are elements of Goodbye to Language you might find in any Hollywood movie — people arguing, a shootout — and even a dog, the director’s own. (Roxy wanders the countryside [“conversing”] with the lake and the river that want to tell him what humans never hear.)” writes NPR of Jean-Luc Godard’s new film. The director’s “meditation on love and history, nature and meaning” will be playing at New York’s IFC Center until November 4.

“One of the reasons the dog Roxy is very prominent in the film … is that he’s trying to get people to look at the world in a kind of an unspoiled way,” critic David Bordwell stated of Godard’s animal companion. ”There are hints throughout the film that animal consciousness is kind of closer to the world than we are, that language sets up a barrier or filter or screen between us and what’s really there. And although the film is full of language, talk, printed text and so on, nevertheless I think there’s a sense he wants the viewer to scrape away a lot of the ordinary conceptions we have about how we communicate and look at the world afresh.”

Animal-centric films tend to fall into the absurd or terrible categories, especially those where the beasts talk or act as a foil for a human character’s inner world. But Godard’s latest demonstrates one way directors can make the concept of the animal id work. Here are eight others, ranked for your convenience.
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Photo credit: Pete Thorne

Heartwarming ‘Old Faithful’ Photo Series Proves Senior Dogs Have A Lot of Love Left to Give

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“Senior dogs end up in shelters for a variety of reasons, sometimes because of neglect or abandonment, sometimes because their owners simply cannot care for them. The health of older dogs is at high risk in a shelter environment, and as a result, they may be less adoptable then the younger dogs (or perceived as such by the public),” reports senior dog advocates and all-volunteer group The Grey Muzzle Organization. Photographer Pete Thorne, who we discovered on Co.Design, puts a spotlight on the senior dog community in his series Old Faithful. His portraits capture the character and determination of old dogs — from a bone cancer survivor and several blind pups, to those abandoned in shelters and passed around puppy mills during their lifetime. These dogs have seen it all and their faces tell many stories. Meet some of the pups in Pete’s photos series in our gallery. Visit the artist’s website to stay up to date on how you can purchase his planned book.
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Pop Culture-Inspired Photos of an Adorable Dog in Illustrated Scenes

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Adorable, Budweiser-loving bull terrier Spuds MacKenzie was the most famous dog of the 1980s, but the most popular bull terrier of 2014 is a pup named Jimmy Choo. The photogenic pooch, who we learned of on Photojojo resides with his human Rafael Mantesso—a Brazilian restaurateur and marketing exec. Mantesso also happens to be a talented artist. His illustrations adorn the backgrounds of his fun photos of Jimmy. We’re especially fond of the pop culture-inspired pics, including an homage to performance artist Marina Abramović (in this case, “Marina Abramobull”), Disney’s Lady and the Tramp, and Game of Thrones. Get to know darling dog Jimmy Choo in our gallery.
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‘Underwater Puppies’ Are the Cutest Thing You’ll See Today

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Photographer Seth Casteel has found himself a delightful, bestselling niche with his underwater animals series — even if it’s just dogs for now. His new book, Underwater Puppies (a sequel, naturally, to Underwater Dogs), is the cutest thing, with joyful photos of goofy, tiny puppies enjoying swimming for the first time, and Casteel capturing it all on film. It’s adorable, and we’ve got a sample below.
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Gorgeous Portraits of Nocturnal Animals

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There are times when, as a writer, you really want to delve into the realm of Serious Criticism, taking a critical view of works of art in their sociopolitical context and examining their role in both their own fields of artistic endeavor and against a wider backdrop of cultural trends and movements. There are also times when you just want to go, OMG SUCH CUTE ANIMALS ARGGHHHH~~~~~. These gorgeous photos of nocturnal animals, from Rhode Island photographer Traer Scott’s book Creatures of the Night, fall firmly into the latter category. That’s not in any way to understate their artistic worth — they’re beautifully composed and well shot — but dear god, how cute is that little baby fox thing on the book cover?! Hat tip to Featureshoot, where we first spotted these — and also, do check out Traer’s website, where there’s a wealth of beautiful animal photography.
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