AN IMAGE MIGHT SAY ONE THING TO YOU AND SOMETHING ENTIRELY DIFFERENT TO SOMEONE ELSE. WHEN I FINISH A PAINTING I DON'T TRY TO INTERPRET WHAT I'VE DONE.
"San Francisco photographer Elliot Ross makes the photographing of animals a confrontation with the fundamental questions of existence."
"In Ross's new series [Animal Studies], the animals are often slightly distorted and blurred, they become dynamically abstract and throbbing with energy."
Point 102 (UK)
“With a regular upbringing of going to zoos as a child and watching natural history documentaries, what I looked for and what I found within Other Animals feels separate to what we’ve seen before. Visually the black and white images paint the subjects in this silver haze, taking them out of their surroundings and habitat and placing them behind a black and white roll of film, we are able to look at animals in another light.
We are made aware of the animal conscious in each image with each page turn, and with our eyes catching the glance of the animal, the notion of understanding one another begins to form.
Part of Other Animals' strength is how we react and interact with the images, animals big and small, to wow and intrigue us. It is with this level of intrigue we organise each animal within our heads, which one could be a companion or a threat. Each animal comes towards us from a deep black background.... We are alone with them, isolated in each portrait. Left to look closer, and see if we can draw more from the animal than the judgements and humanisation we place upon them.
The gap between the animal and the human is felt within Other Animals, the space allowed on each page around the subjects provides moments of contemplation, and not only of how curious we can be of the natural world, but what part we have to play in this world alongside these animals.”
Darwin Magazine (UK)
"These photographs literally stop you in your tracks, back you up, and first make you look, and then they make you really see these beings that share our planet...a truly valuable inter-species encounter."
Alan Klotz Gallery
"Going on to photograph animals from around the world, Ross creates images laden with emotion. He discards their environmental surroundings and uses an almost painterly approach in post-production, leaving us with these beautifully isolated and powerful portraits."
"Ross offers a consideration, privileged by beauty, of the romantic view of the mental life of animals, but not exclusively or conclusively. He merely asks that we contemplate the value of the animal's experience, not just our own. Some animals possess sociability. Some display affection, empathy, grief, envy, hostility and shame. Just because an animal's reasoning is not human-like does not mean it is mindless. Ultimately Ross's portraits offer more that luscious imagery; they offer wonder."
—Diana L. Daniels
from the introductory essay to Other Animals
"[I] was introduced to Elliot Ross’s animal portraits, and selections from his first series are recent, noteworthy additions to the Crocker’s photography holdings. In Ross’s stirring, seductive, and classic yet fully contemporary images, the [I] find a new level of richness that redefines the accomplishment possible in digital photography."
—Diana L. Daniels
curator of contemporary art
Crocker Art Museum
"The haunting animal portraits of the American Elliot Ross question our relation to other creatures and the ways we perceive the animal world."
"[T]his project is a remarkable and serious analysis of the animal world."
"In their intensity, [Elliot Ross's photographic animal portraits] seem like reflections on the ethical relationship between human and animals."
—Elke Gruhn and Sara Stehr
Nassauischer Kunstverein Wiesbaden
"The texture of the creatures makes it feel like they are under your own skin."
"The subject of animals is rather popular among photographers, but the overwhelming majority adopts a primitive treatment. Elliot Ross opens up this subject in a way that is not only masterful — he translates it to another qualitative plane."
Foto & Video (Moscow)
"This book [Animal] is a feast for the eyes and leaves one wondering if those animals contemplate us in the same way."
—Apogee Photo Magazine
Griffin Museum of Photography (from the press release)
In describing the underlying question of his series, Ross quotes contemporary American philosopher Cora Diamond:
In the case of our relationship with animals, a sense of the difficulty with reality may involve... a sense of astonishment and incomprehension that there should be beings so like us, so unlike us; so astonishingly capable of being companions of ours and so unfathomably distant.
How powerfully strange it is that they and we should share as much as we do, and also not share; that they should be capable of incomparable beauty and delicacy and terrible ferocity; that some among them should be so mind-boggingly weird or repulsive in their forms or in their lives.