New Photography Book Shines Light on Hidden Animals in Our Lives


HIDDEN: Animals in the Anthropocene, released this week, is an unflinching book of photography about our conflict with non-human animals around the globe. Through the lenses of forty award-winning photojournalists, HIDDEN shines a light on the invisible animals in our lives: those with whom we have a close relationship and yet fail to see. The animals we eat and wear; the animals we use for research, work, and for entertainment; the animals we sacrifice in the name of tradition and religion. HIDDEN is a historical document, a memorial, and an indictment of what is and should never again be.

Showcased by award-winning designer David Griffin, HIDDEN represents the work of forty photojournalists who have documented—and continue to document—animal stories. Their exhaustive and in-depth work has resulted in some of the most compelling and historic images of animals ever seen.

Below, read the foreword from HIDDEN, written by actor and activist Joaquin Phoenix, followed by select images from the book.

Our society conditions us to believe that humans are superior to other species; within this, it also wants us to think that some animals are meant to be eaten while others should share our homes. Wealthy industries churn out dazzling advertising campaigns and propaganda to lure children, parents and other consumers into believing falsehoods that make us ill, exploit entire communities and wreak havoc on our planet. We are entrenched in the ideology that animals are here for us to use. We capture them, cage them, wear their skin, eat their flesh and poison their bodies in the name of science.

There will never be a scenario in which the infliction of fear and pain on a vulnerable individual creates a benefit to humankind.

As animal rights activists, our battle is against the powerful enterprises that have normalized the torment and killing of billions of animals for food, clothing, entertainment and experimentation each year. Like conflict photographers documenting war and other humanitarian crises, the brave photojournalists featured in this book deserve our acclaim. Their work has made it impossible for exploitative industries to plausibly deny the agony and suffering taking place behind closed doors, deliberately kept out of the public consciousness.

May the images in HIDDEN ignite a fire within each of us. May they serve as a reminder of our susceptibility to greed and egocentrism. May they be an admission of our mistakes and fuel our movement with renewed purpose. Until every cage is empty, until all are free, I am yours in action and solidarity.

Warning: these images depict animals experiencing various forms of violence and exploitation and may be difficult to view.

A cage of dogs in Cambodia watch as others are killed and dismembered before being cooked. Image credit Aaron Gekoski.
In this slaughterhouse in Mexico, cows are immobilized by having a blade thrust into their spinal cord, a process known as pithing. Image credit Aitor Garmendia.
 In the horse yard of the bullring in Azpeitia, Spain, a bull is hung by his hind leg to bleed out before being butchered at the local meat works. Image credit Aitor Garmendia.
Tima the brown bear of Spain’s Gran Circo Holiday circus poses for a photo with children. Image credit Aitor Garmendia.
A macaque performs in a popular street show in Jakarta, Indonesia, known locally as Topeng Monyet (Mask Monda). Image credit Joan de la Malla.
In some small Asian slaughterhouses, such as this one in Thailand, clubbing is used to stun pigs. This often fails to render the animals fully unconscious before their throats are slit. Image credit Jo-Anne McArthur.
Day-old chicks are packed into crates at an industrial hatchery in Poland. During transport to farms, they are often unprotected from heat or cold. Image credit Konrad Lozinski.
To produce the luxury food item foie gras, ducks and geese are force-fed to fatten their livers up to ten times their natural size. Image credit Luis Tato.

Featured image: a dairy farm in Poland. Steel barriers, concrete floors, tiled walls and push-button technology make up the habitat of the modern day dairy herd. Image credit Andrew Skowron.

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About Author

Dylan has been joyously aware of the multispecies nature of the world around him since childhood, and today considers this attention towards nonhuman others to be an integral component of his intellectual, political, and emotional life. Dylan had the pleasure of being a part of the Animal People team from 2015-2021. Click to see author's profile.

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