Memento Mori: Haunting images of dogs, in photos taken moments before their deaths
For two years, Yun-Fei Tou has been photographing dogs heading to meet their deaths at the Taoyuan Animal Shelter in Taiwan, providing in the process some last-minute affection to the animals and a message to all: There has got to be a better way.
“I believe something should not be told but should be felt,” says Tou, 37, a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design. “And I hope these images will arouse the viewers to contemplate and feel for these unfortunate lives, and understand the inhumanity we the society are putting them through.”
He has captured the images of some 400 dogs, most of which were pets abandoned by their owners, sometimes hours before they are euthanized, sometimes just minutes, according to an Associated Press story.
And once in a while, according to a recent piece in the Washington Post, he is at their side when the lethal injection takes place.
“You treat them like your own dog or daughter or son. And then you play with them, as if they are your friend … You just make sure that when they are facing euthanasia, they are in peace,” Tou said.
A selection of some of the 40,000 dog pictures Tou has taken are scheduled to be exhibited in August in his first full-scale show, at the Fine Arts Museum in the southern Taiwanese city of Kaohsiung.
A few others are on display at Taoyuan city hall, aimed at heightening citizen awareness of the responsibilities that come with raising a pet.
Tou first became interested in photography in 1991 as a student at The American School in Switzerland. In 1998, he graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design with a major in photography.
His softly lit photographs reflect the dignity of the soon-to-be-killed dogs, who, despite often being mangy and emaciated, seem to have a grace about them.
Shelters in Taiwan will euthanize 80,000 dogs this year. In the U.S., between 3 and 4 million dogs are euthanized a year.
You can find more of Tou’s photos here.
Posted by jwoestendiek July 27th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, art, death, death row, dignity, dogs, euthanasia, exhibit, grace, memento mori, pets, photographer, photography, photos, shame, shelters, taiwan, taoyuan animal shelter, yun-fei tou