Around 10,000 years ago, humans began domesticating wild animals. This marked the beginning of a close relationship between humans and animals that continues to this day. The dog was the first animal domesticated by man and occupies a special place in our society as a beloved family member, a proud possession or a hardworking farm animal. We humans benefit in many ways from the animals around us. Many of our advances, for example in agriculture or transport, would not have been possible without domesticated animals.
This close coexistence between humans and animals since the mid-19th century can be witnessed in the rich holdings of the Photothèque of the City of Luxembourg. The exhibition is dedicated to this special relationship and examines the life cycle of animals based on the individual stages of their existence. This special bond has been captured by photographers in pictures from their birth to their death, both as family pets and as working or breeding animals. As in human life, happy and sad moments alternate. Whether they are revelling in the arms of their beloved owners, jumping through burning tyres or collapsing under the weight of their task, hardly any animal leaves us, as humans, unmoved.
The way people interact with animals has also been subject to change over the decades. What kept us entertained in the past is often seen through different eyes today. As the photographs show, animals are not always treated with the sympathy and compassion that humans expect for themselves.
By showing selected photographs from its collection, the Photothèque wants to shine a light on the different roles animals play in our lives and reflect on the status of animals in our society. A glimpse into the urban scenery also shows that not all our animal inhabitants are domesticated.
Organized by The Cercle Cité and the Photothèque de la Ville de Luxembourg
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