Hidden features the work of 40 international photographers who have documented animals hidden from public view in the food system, entertainment, research, religion, and tradition. The massive 320-page hardcover includes 200 images from six continents and inaugurates the field of animal photojournalism. In this emerging genre, photographers capture and expose human conflicts with non-human animals and face some of the planet’s worst atrocities – such as live animal markets, which are the source of the current pandemic.
Hidden is, by nature, a tough book to read. The first page full of text urges you not to look away, and I will admit, at times, I absolutely had to. This is a tough but true look at what happens to animals in industrial farming. It is gruesome, sometimes downright disgusting, but also very necessary.
I have been on a personal journey that brings me closer and closer to veganism each day, week, and year. I live in a small farming community in Massachusetts, and as I was growing up, my grandparents were dairy farmers. While I spent most of my time chasing the cats around the hayfields, the cows were my best friends. I am (luckily) allergic to milk, so consuming it was never a part of my routine, but after growing up and exploring farming a bit more, if I weren’t allergic, I would’ve stopped immediately. I never saw the rough part of my grandparents’ dairy farm, but as I look back, I don’t have any memories of calves on the farm. Hidden fills in the gaps of where they likely were.
This book isn’t going to be for everybody, and honestly, a few of the people I shared it with had to put it down and walk away. I myself am thankful to have a digital copy that I can visit when I want instead of having a copy staring at me from the bookshelf. However, I think that is one of the messages of the book. Just like the first page said, don’t look away. If we turn a blind eye to torture, it will merely continue. Hidden does a horrifyingly fantastic job of exposing the exploitation of animals around the globe.
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher, We Animals Media, for review.