It’s not often that a photographer treats his four-footed subjects like two-footed supermodels, but Rob MacInnis is a unique kind of artist. After being inspired by fashion photography and its role in society—both positive and negative—MacInnis had a lightbulb moment: why not showcase the farm animal as a metaphor for the fashion model? “I wanted to draw parallels between literally consuming them, which we do every day,” and the way the photograph ‘consumes’ its subject,” he explained in an interview with My Modern Metropolis.
So the Brooklyn-based MacInnnis, who earned his B.F.A. from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and an M.F.A. from the Rhode Island School of Design, has, over the past five years, been giving animals the glam, moody, shadows-and-light treatment. In both individual portraits—of goats, sheep, cows, dogs, chickens, and more—and group shots, à la Annie Leibovitz’s Hollywood Vanity Fair covers—MacInnis not only explores how the camera manipulates its subject, but also manages to capture the soul of his subjects. It’s this narrative, thought-provoking ability that has garnered MacInnis a variety of grants and awards, and has led to his work being featured on TV, in magazines, and in exhibits in the United States, Canada, Germany, and Spain.
And MacInnis is not a one-trick pony; he also creates quirky videos and multimedia installations, some of which you can view on his website. But to see his cheeky-provocative farmyard friends photography in person, take a trip to the Barn Gallery at Stonover Farm in Lenox, Massachusetts, between now and Labor Day.