"Of One and The Other" Portfolio (2013-17)
Of One and The Other (2013-2017) has been featured in The New York Times LENS "Humans and Animals: A Complicated Bond", LIFE FORCE Magazine, LENSCRATCH, LENSCRATCH ReRuns, BIRD IN FLIGHT Magazine "Golden Cage", Muybridge's Horse, Edge of Humanity Magazine "From Lifesaving To Exploitation, The Human Factor in the Animal's Life", The Telegraph in London, Vision Magazine in Beijing, The Southeast Museum of Photography in Daytona Beach Florida, and Chiang Mai University Art Museum in Thailand.
Jayanti Seiler created the collection of photographs titled, “Of One and The Other”, to inspire consideration of the complexity and depth found in diverse relationships between animals and people from points along the spectrum spanning the chasm from lifesaving to exploitation. This on-going body of work began in 2013 and developed out of her long-term dedication to wildlife rehabilitation and rescue. Through her images she aims to impart a greater consideration and respect for our fellow inhabitants of this planet. The well-being of animals has been a lifelong passion, which initially compelled her to apply her craft to explore the myriad of disparate ideations versus the actual treatment of animals that she observed across innumerable venues wherein humans and animals interact. As a participant, observer and storyteller, Jayanti spent time among people from a broad scope of human-animal engagements ranging from falconers who practice the sport of hunting with birds of prey, 4-H youth that auction their livestock for profit and slaughter, owners of exotic big cats, sanctuaries that care for abused wild or domestic animals, traveling safaris, zoos, wildlife rescue and rehabilitation centers, taxidermists, and encounters for profit. “Of One and The Other” is a critique of the paradoxical framework and disparate representations of our relationships with animals; wherein there is the desire to coexist harmoniously, yet control, consume and rule. These have yet to be reconciled, although I believe there is a growing sensibility and consciousness in Western culture towards animals as equal sentient beings. This work situates within this larger context and seeks to advocate for an essential regard for animals.
The photographs as seen together, are a call to revere the natural world while living in a modern one in which the two realms often conflict. Jayanti immersed herself in the commonalities and conflicts of interest between neighboring groups to call attention to the ill-defined slippery notion of borders and boundaries and how they are either honored or crossed. The humans and the animals that are depicted co-exist and connect across and within these margins. The capturers become the captured as they are bound by their commitments to preserve and protect. Conflict is found in efforts to remain at a distance, pictured as not only humane but also essential to survival and conservation in the world of wildlife rescue and rehabilitation. Others blatantly bridge that gap and sell encounters with big cats under the same guise though with little or no care for the welfare of the animals. Whereas, altruistic individuals at animal shelters both wild and domestic dedicate their lives to preserving the health of debilitated, abused and neglected animals. There is a collision of sadness, vulnerability, and pride found in the unique relationships young people in the 4-H Club have with their farm animals. Children raise their animals from birth with meticulous care, having full knowledge that they will have to auction them for slaughter in a couple of years. These disparities are woven into the fabric of the photographs, calling attention to undefined slippery boundaries of displaced intentions and notions of adoration, escape, capture, release, and conservation. The relationships Jayanti depicts are meant to be complex and not clearly definable to call upon a greater concern. “Of One and The Other”, is an acknowledgment of the myriad contradictions, and the unresolved and intricate borderlands shared by contemporary life and the undomesticated world of nature. Irrespective of our own biases, within every interaction and encounter, there deserves to be further understanding of our obligations and impact.