Norah Levine is a pet photographer, so, not all too surprisingly, she has a soft spot for that special bond between a person and his or her furry companion.
But Levine's series "Lifelines" adds a poignant twist to the internet's omnipresent trend of cuddly pet photos. The works capture the often witnessed, but not adequately explored relationship between humans and pets when neither have a shelter to call their own.
Levine, who lives in Austin, Texas, embarked on the series after discovering a program called 4PAWS (For People and Animals Without Shelter ), which offers sterilization, vaccination and veterinary help to the pets of homeless citizens. "When I learned about the program I was inspired to capture the connection between animal and owner from a positive perspective," Levine explained to The Huffington Post.
Finding her subjects mostly through word of mouth around the homeless community, Levine photographed pets and their owners in the vast variety of places they call home, from woodland tents to urban streets. Though the settings remain variable and impermanent, the love between the photographic subjects remains constant. Along with the images, Levine records audio testimony from her human models with the help of partner Gabrielle Amster, and often provides their beloved pets with food and other donated supplies.
"I wanted to capture the universal bond that exists between people and their pets and to illustrate through photography and audio that this shared bond is universal," the artist explained. "It isn't based on finances or home ownership. The vast majority of pets I encountered during this project were treated with love and respect, both physically and emotionally and the relationship was mutually beneficial and positive."
See the moving photographs below and visit the 4PAWS website to learn more.
The Lifelines project was recently featured in Los Angeles at the National Museum of Animals and Society's "My Dog is My Home" exhibit.