In his first book “Equus” (2008) Flach turned his camera on horses, treating that very familiar creature in unfamiliar ways by focusing on the forms of muscle and mane. Then came “Dogs” (2010), part of which appeared here two years ago—a study of the most domesticated animal of all, and the lengths we go to engineer it for our own purposes. Both projects explored animals with a long history of use by humans, but since then Flach’s menagerie has got busier. His next book, for which these photographs were taken, captures creatures great and small, docile and deadly.
So why the change of tack? “I wanted to enter into other discussions,” Flach says. “We determine the shape and form and function of a dog to a greater extent than any other species, but we are determining the outcomes of a lot of other things too.” With the world’s human population now over 7 billion, Flach sees animal photography as a way of examining our attitudes to the natural world, and our responsibility for it. “Many of the questions that surround us today are about how animals occupy our space, and about the pressures we’re putting on the biodiversity we have, which we’re losing.”
Pictured: Porcupine, Hystrix cristata
Native to Africa, but Flach photographed this one in his studio in Shoreditch, London. It had to be corralled so that he could take his photograph; its quills are raised in self-defence