Deborah Samuel makes elegant, penetrating black-and-white photographs of human bodies, animals, and plants, in which she aims to reveal the essence and beauty of their physicality and the spirit that runs equally through all living beings. She began her career as a fashion and portrait photographer, capturing people like Leonard Cohen and Margaret Atwood with dignity and intimacy. Her work appeared regularly in magazines like GQ, Rolling Stone, and Esquire. This led to her early “Venus Passage” series (1991), a searing examination—through marked-up nude portraits—of the impossible pursuit of bodily perfection spurred by mass-media culture. By 2000, when she embarked upon a series focused on dogs and puppies, Samuel decided to leave commercial photography altogether and concentrate on the cycle of life inscribed in the plants and animals upon which she now turns her lens.