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Book of the Week: A Pick by Hester Keijser

Book of the Week Book of the Week: A Pick by Hester Keijser Photo curator Hester Keijser selects Animal Imago by Lucia Nimcova as Book of the Week.
Animal Imago by Lucia Nimcova. / see photo fund, 2014.
This week's Book of the Week pick comes from photo curator Hester Keijser who has selected Animal Imago by Lucia Nimcova published by / see photo fund.

"Animal Imago by Lucia Nimcova is a children's book for all ages. There is no text except on the spine, so it can be enjoyed anywhere in the world, alone or together. The relatively large size of the otherwise lightweight book makes a joint viewing a comfortable experience. Like other classical picture books for children, it is very colorful. Six blank colored pages have been added at either end of the book, a stroke of genius from Goda BudvytytÄ— and Julie Peeters, who designed it in collaboration with Nimcova. The colors were selected based on the images in the book, creating an extra harmony and adding a playful element that invites a game of matching the blank pages with the one from which its color was taken. The printing, by Petro ofsetas in Lithuania, is consistently excellent.

Animal Imago would be nothing but a simple, well-made pleasure if it wasn't for Nimcova's portraits of the animals. We are not presented with glorious creatures of nature, nor with cute and adorable pictures of pets. Instead, Nimcova offers a random selection of twenty different species, which she encountered while traveling: three goats on painted rocks, penguin looking over his shoulder, dead duck, stuffed deer, insect, yawning cat, emaciated horse, monkey on a motor bike, dog hiding between the legs of his owner. She photographed them as she found them, in natural light and with honesty.

All animals are pictured in environments constructed by man, forced to adapt their habitat to ours, or killed and adapted to fit inside narratives of our making about hunting, collecting and displaying. Only a few are looking directly at the viewer, and most seem resigned to their fate, with varying degrees of wistfulness. If we are made to feel a little uncomfortable, it must be because our conscious isn't entirely clear about our treatment of the sentient beings with which we share the planet and who -  to quote John Berger — offer their companionship to the loneliness of man as a species." —Hester Keijser

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Animal Imago by Lucia Nimcova. / see photo fund, 2014.
Animal Imago by Lucia Nimcova. / see photo fund, 2014.

Based in The Hague, Hester Keijser (1967, NL) is a freelance curator and author specialized in contemporary photography with a focus on the Middle East. She frequently collaborates with other international organisations in the field of photography on exhibitions, presentations, lectures, workshops and portfolio reviews, and serves as jury member for various awards and festivals. She recently joined forces with Noorderlicht as an associate curator. She is left handed.

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