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A Look at Aging Through Animals

Photographer Isa Leshko deals with her mother's battle with Alzheimer's by showing how animals age

Philadelphia photographer Isa Leshko sees a lot in the faces of aging animals. They give her a deeper understanding of what it means to live and die. Leshko, 40, confronts her own anxieties about growing old through her stark black-and-white "Elderly Animals" images — a scruffy white dog, a wolf near death.

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Black and white portrait of dog at age 19

Photo by Isa Leshko

Photographer Isa Leshko shows animals in their twilight years.

"Perhaps by immersing myself in my fear, I will be able to dilute its power," she says. After a year of caring for her mother, who has Alzheimer's disease, Leshko began her study of mortality through a chance encounter with a 35-year-old blind horse named Petey.

"I spent the afternoon photographing him," Leshko says. "As I reviewed the film, I realized I had found a means of expressing how I was feeling about my mother's illness." In spending time with her subjects, Leshko takes an unflinching look at each animal: "I have begun to view my images as testaments to endurance and survival." Her work will be on display at the Houston Center for Photography April 27 through June 16.

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