Iris Bergmann

Interspecies communication – Feet #2309,  53 x 35cm, Type C-print, 2009


I am interested in exploring visually human-animal communication and interaction, how humans and non-human animals can relate to each other in our contemporary environment that is not necessarily conducive to fostering interspecies communication due to its institutional, cultural, emotional, architectural, and other design restrictions. My medium is mainly photography in its various forms, at times extending into multi-media. This image is one of a series of feet, a human and a dog’s feet, that coincidentally arranged themselves in a way that expressed it seems a successful interspecies communication. The reading of this image then goes further to contemplate the likeness and the otherness.


Photography has been an essential part of my life since I received my first camera as a child. It continued as a thread forever after, while studying (amongst other things) visual communication and photography, being a member of a group running a producers gallery for photography in Germany for six years, facilitating community youth and adult education using photography to explore self-identity and environmental issues, researching the potential of the medium to advance our understanding of issues of sustainability, applying photography as a research tool, and engaging in visual practice along the way. Much of my previous work has looked at our reading of non-human animal being and expression, and of human and non-human animal communication and interaction. I see essential questions of survival and fulfilment reflected in the struggle to find a sustainable relationship, a relationship of respect, understanding and peace toward non-human animals in a shared world. Photography is a medium that can help us advance in that direction by opening up new ways of seeing and reflecting on these relationships.

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