Ellen Ruddick-Sunstein highlights Taiwanese photographer Yun-Fei Tou‘s Memento Mori, a series of photographs that “captures the final minutes in the lives of hundreds of shelter dogs awaiting euthanasia”:
For each, he visits on the day of their predetermined deaths. In the last instants of their existence, he often plays with them, feeds them, and gives them a voice that has eluded them for much of their troubled lives.
Inspired by philosopher Peter Singer, Tou explains that the rights of animals are not the product of sentimentality but of moral fortitude and integrity. We are bound ethically to these silent creatures, and Tou frames them as he would any human subject, imbuing each with a palpable sense of soulful tenderness and dignity. Freed from the cages that have become their final homes, the dogs are immortalized on life-sized prints.