It’s hard for me to not anthropomorphize the behavior of animals looking up to the sky as being spiritual. There just seems to be a natural interpretation of any animal with their eyes searching the “heavens” as seeking guidance or being lost in a sense of wonder.

As someone who spent their college career in the study of animal behavior, any form of anthropomorphizing was unscientific. As an artist now, I don’t have to fight that urge. In fact I think it has become a part of my image-making process. I look for the “expressions” in animal subjects that relate to my own emotions and feelings. My work isn’t just about the animal in my image, but also about how their behavior speaks to our own lives.

This little kit Red Fox was part of a den I worked at for over a week. I  feel like I caught it in a private moment of youthful contemplation of the universe. Color isn’t important to the image, so I rendered it as a black & white. To instill a sense that it was unaware of my presence, I composed so that it blends into its surroundings but made sure that the eyes and ears (pointing forward with its line of sight) are clearly visible.

Fox Kit

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6 thoughts on “Looking Up

  1. I think animals have a higher sense of the universe and the nature around them than us mear mortals. They are grounded to the “eat or be eaten” scenerio on a daily basis. They live simply and only take what they need. I think they know that their own demise can be close at hand at anytime. I’ve too have seen animals look to the heavens. What do they see that we don’t? Who knows?. But dog spelled backwards is god!

  2. While I accept that anthropomorphizing is not scientific, my view is that’s because (at least at this time) it is not quantifiable, for any species, including humans. We accept a sense of the universe for ourselves because it is a shared, common expeirience. Science is so far unwilling (appropriately) to make that leap of imagination for another species. We don’t speak to foxes, dogs, monkeys (?), etc, with a sophisticated enough vocbulary to confirm this, & science doesn’t assume.

    I’m not in full agreement with Lisa that animals have a higher sense of the universe, but I fully endorse that they do have their version of a sense of the world around & beyond them. I also think certain individual animals, just like humans, have more or less of an awareness of this sense.

    Your image portrays a conscious being apparently in a pose, reminiscent of poses humans make, of wonder. Wonder of what? (I certainly don’t know.) But whether this is “real” or anthropomorphizing, it strikes us in the same manner. Nice image.

  3. Thank you all for your thoughtful replies. I do think that its impossible for humans to think as anything other than humans. Afterall, we even speak about seas as being “angry”.

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