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Laurent Baheux (vegetarian): Picturing Animal-People in Black and White, Part 1 of 2

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Mr. Baheux (vegetarian) is an accomplished French photographer known for his monochromic images of animal-people living in their natural environment. “Their intelligence surprised me a lot, mainly by observing them – even though I’m not a naturalist, I’m not a scientist, I’m not a biologist. But you just have to watch them to see that man does not have a monopoly on intelligence, It is not the prerogative of man, nor language besides, because all these animals have intelligence and languages that we are just beginning to decipher. Elephants, for example, are able to communicate at a distance.”

“To me, it is essential to have this link, this connection with nature and with other living beings, because it leads to respect, I mean understanding that these living beings also have needs. They need space, territory. They need to be respected and not exploited. So, it’s essential to teach children, to show them that we are not the only inhabitants of this planet and that the other animal species were not created to entertain us nor to feed our needs.”

“And when you look into the archives of the great masters of photography, you find only fantastic works in black and white. And so, it only reinforced, confirmed what I felt – that I was deeply attracted to black and white, and it was the right tool for me to express myself through photography.” “Yes, yes, it is the photography of these animals in their environment that has in fact made me aware little by little of all this and of the consequences of our way of life. So, there is a real problem, real cognitive dissonance to behave like that, so yes, it’s been almost 10 years since I stopped eating animals.”

“Many people are in awe of the lions or elephants or polar bears – large mammals that are emblematic and that are very beautiful. But I find that all living things are beautiful. And that’s why we must respect them in their entirety. We have to relearn how to, I want to say, live with the rest of the living, cohabit with wildlife, and also to consider that all animals have a right to live.”
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