In “Animals Being Human,” photographer Darren Holmes captures people in the liminal space between rationality and physicality—that is, between humanity and animality. The sets resemble something from a child’s room, with messily painted props and a general state of disarray, and the models—their bodies painted or cardboard-clad—embody an ambiguous playfulness that is both innocent and adult-like. To create these images, Holmes’ process is one of improvisation, encouraging the subjects to enter a pre-symbolic state where language and intellect are shed and a deeper animal self emerges. “Things get really interesting when people go past worrying about how their bodies or their faces look,” Holmes wrote in a statement provided to us; by becoming-animal and responding to the environment in immediate and unconventional ways, both he and the subjects co-create an organic and original scene. Intelligent, creative, and bizarre, “Animals Being Human” encourages us to ponder how notions of “intellect” distinguish us and our behaviors from the animal world.
Images © Darren Holmes Via Beautiful/Decay