Alongside with the launch of his 5th book in France («Portraits de la vie sauvage en voie de disparition», Ed. Hérédium, oct. 2017), this exclusive exhibition will feature a selection of 20 photographs shot all around the globe. Endangered is a «powerful visual record of remarkable animals and ecosystems facing harsh challenges.» This collection of images isn’t just intended to be a registry of endangered species: «it is a unique experiment exploring the role of imagery in fostering an emotional connection with species and their habitats.» It will, Flach hopes «inspire, challenge, and inform» and hopefully acts as a springboard for positive action.
Flach’s work has increasingly focused on animals, ranging widely across species but united by a distinctive style that is derived from his concerns with anthropomorphism and anthropocentrism. His interests lie in the way “We shape animals, and we shape their meaning. Whether genetically, as with the featherless chicken of my photograph, or with the symbolism that gives a special significance to a dove but dismisses a London pigeon as a flying rat.” He states that his images “aim to illuminate […] the relationships between human and animals – to make an enquiry into how these relationships occupy anthropocentric space within the contexts of ethics, history, science and politics.” Flach’s images have been described as a system for thinking, constructed and questioned by animal imagery: Nobel Prize-winner author Elias Canetti penned an aphorism that could easily be applied to Flach – a person who “thinks in animals as others think in concepts”.
Flach’s often abstract photographic style has been described as “the perfect antithesis to anthropomorphism”. Flach employs the artistic technique of defamiliarization in many of his studio portraits, creating deliberately ambiguous close-ups, which present the subject at unusual angles in order to provoke questions from the viewer.” Surrounding many of these images, like a filter or a screen, is a sense of exploring the concept of Umwelt – the unique way of reading the physical environment that each species inevitably has. Flach’s inquiry is at once highly intellectual, subtly political, and at the same time charmingly visual. There are multiple agendas being explored that confront us with our behaviour in and around other living things.