, by Ed Panar

Sebastian Song Craft & Tools, Reviews 2 Comments

ANIMALS THAT SAW ME: Volume One by Ed Panar
80 pages Clothbound 
ISBN: 978-0-9823653-4-2
NOVEMBER 2011 29.95 USD

Measuring at a modest 8.5 X 7 inches, Ed Panar’s Animals That Saw Me: Volume One is not a big photo book. However, it would be an injustice to judge this work by its physical dimensions. Animals That Saw Me is an exemplary of how a simple idea together with a simple layout can translate such elegance. The resulting work is rid of excess baggage requiring no essays and captions.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Animals That Saw Me is a collection of animal portraits made between 1993 and 2010. An odd “animal witness” log of Ed Panar after he was caught in the act of photography.  So then”who watches the watchmen?” The creatures are random and varied, from birds, cats, cows, deer, dogs, geese to raccoons. From the rural to urban settings, it is obvious that Mr. Panar seeks to reconcile with and tribute the startled occupants that gave him safe passage.

The animal sees Ed; Ed sees the animal. An unspoken message passes between them.

Animals That Saw Me provokes. The impulsive would laugh at the imageries while the cynic scoff at its intrusive and deadpan nature. For the deeply conscious, the photos serve as a reminder of the shared space among all living things. What better excuse to hold a discourse on how strange we would appear to these animals.

Dedicated to me, spelt the three-word acknowledgement at the end, it is a work of ego made possible only through a keen awareness of the self and its surroundings. Animals That Saw Me belongs to any bookshelf that favors a respect for nature and a sense of humor and wit. It is without a doubt one of the photo books of 2011.

Text & Photographs: Sebastian Song
Dec’ 2011

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Comments 2

  1. Dear All

    I received an email from Ed shortly after the above review was posted. I would like to share part of the email.

    “…There is one thing I wanted to clarify though…the dedication in the back of the book is to Mo not “Me” ! Mo is the name of the cat that I live with. (it is
    short for Mosaic) I did not grow up with animals so when my girlfriend
    brought Mo in to live with us it was the first experience I had living
    with another creature. Having this experience helped me consider what it
    might be like to see the world from a non-human point of view and had a
    profound effect on me. So as a small gesture of appreciation for this I
    felt it would be only right to dedicate the book to her. And as a little
    side note, just for fun I started a tumbler dedicated to our furry family
    member: (warning: cat picture overload!)…”

    I apologise for the oversight in my original article to all our readers. I communicated to Ed that after his sharing, I am secretly glad to have made the mistake. The insight is invaluable and we’ll have another gallery of photos to view.

    Happy Holidays Everyone!!!

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