A Photo Series 12 years in the Making: "Amelia & the Animals"

A Photo Series 12 years in the Making: "Amelia & the Animals"

As a parent and photographer, there is nothing I would love to do more than collaborate on a photo series with my son. Growing closer through collaboration - and a mutual learning process from both ends of the lens - appeals to me the most about this idea. And naturally, the memories and images produced in the process. But until he is willing to cooperate with me, I will have to lurk from behind the sofa, “paparazzi mom”.

Photographer Robin Schwartz found a collaborative creative partner in her daughter Amelia. The result: a beautifully touching series of images of her daughter Amelia with many species of animals: "Amelia & the Animals".

Robin Schwartz answered these questions:

FS: How did you decide to specialize in animal photography?

RS: “I did not specialize; this is not a business for me, but a passion. I photograph what I love.”

FS: Photographing Amelia & the animals was a twelve years long project. At what point did you realize this would make a great photo book? 

RS: “I did not realize it, the first Aperture book was offered to me by Tim Barber in 2008 and it sold out. Aperture realized that the small book of 40 images that sold out could a larger more comprehensive book of 75 images – but that was 6 years later.”

Doug, Baby Capuchin, 2013, from Amelia and the Animals (Aperture, 2014)
© Robin Schwartz

FS: Do you have a favorite image from your book?

RS: “There are too many animals and versions of Amelia to really have a favorite. There are more successful images, which is a different answer. At this point, I love Tower, because my sphynx, who passed away last year is young and happy in the photo and the updated version of that photo was shot 4 days before he died. That one ran in the PDN Annual.”

Shiba Up, 2006, from Amelia and the Animals (Aperture, 2014)
© Robin Schwartz

FS: Amelia looks like such a natural with all those animals. Is she thinking of pursuing a career with Animals?

RS: “Amelia has always wanted to be a scientist. The specifics change but not the field. Amelia is very science and math smart.”

Paris Greyhound Hair, Belle de Nuit, and Pioute Van Guard Mattenet, 2010, from Amelia and the Animals (Aperture, 2014)
© Robin Schwartz

FS: What are you working on these days?

RS: “Amelia and I continue to photograph along the same lines, she is my partner. I am also photographing in Mexico as I am accompanying my husband who had a Fulbright Scholarship in Mexico and has indigenous artist friends. That project is in the beginning stages, but work I did 22 years ago in that area is on my website.

Amelia & the Animals hits store shelves on October 31

Breakfast Talk with Rosie, 2011, from Amelia and the Animals (Aperture, 2014)
© Robin Schwartz

All images were used with permission fro Aperture & the artist.

Limor Garfinkle's picture

Limor Garfinkle lives and works in NYC as an art director and the in-house photographer for the ad agency SMA. Started out in the field just three short years ago as a wedding photojournalist, and soon after switched to architectural photography, shooting interiors for commercial spaces such as Spotify, Amex, Warner Music Group, Clear Channel, etc.

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