Photographs by Yana Wernicke
Photographer Yana Wernicke turns her lens on two young women who have established profound relationships with animals typically considered solely for their economic value, striving to close the gulf between ourselves and the other animals we live alongside.
John Berger’s landmark Why Look at Animals? describes the “species loneliness” of modern man: how the ancient relationships between humans and nature have broken down, reducing the existence of animals to marginalized objects, as commodities, and as Other. Concerned with modern humanity’s yearning for a deeper connection to ecology, Wernicke’s series is a touching portrait of two young women who have established profound relationships with animals. Rosina and Julie each independently save animals from certain death and create bonds of love and trust with animals typically considered solely for their economic value.
In German, Companions, or Weggefährten, is a hybrid word that translates literally as “those who walk the path together.” Through tenderness, touch and intuition, Wernicke’s camera follows that path—of joy, emotions, tenderness, and play between humans and animals—striving to close the gulf between our emotional consciousness and those of the other animals we live alongside.