Animal Mysticism – Gregory Colbert’s Ashes and Snow

The images in Gregory Colbert’s Ashes and Snow remind us that animals have always had a mystical place in the world of humans.

Started in 1992, Ashes and Snow is a long term project in which photographer and film-maker Gregory Colbert works towards “rediscovering the common ground that once existed when people lived in harmony with animals.” Colbert has created a set of romanticized images of people interacting with wild animals in a largely mystical ambiance.

The whole project – a set of images of people interacting closely with wild animals – has a sense of unreality. Yet it is this very unreality that, in its metaphorical approach, transports us somewhere that generates a strong feeling of human-animal connection.

Looking at these images makes us all feel, at some level, that we would like to be able to interact with these wild animals in this way ourselves; to be able to get close and intimate with these spectacular beings.

But of course, in our cities and suburbs, we have all become remote from animals and, in a modern, techno-scientific world, all mystical connection with animals has been broken. In this way, Colbert’s work harks back to a lost world that, however hard we try, we are likely never able to regain.

Ashes and Snow is a large scale traveling exhibit that has already visited many major cities and has won near-universal acclaim and recognition and many awards.

In a modern world with its ever-increasing distance between the human and the natural, we cannot regain what Gregory Colbert has shown us that we have lost – part of our human soul. The only question is how much more are we willing to lose.



  1. Incredibly stunning pictures, one can feel the connection between humans and animals. Really nice.


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