Fabian Zapatka is a photographer of the everyday. Through the pictures of this series we are allowed a glimpse into the daily routine of basic research in a laboratory for animal testing, a type of work that is part of the everyday in research labs in Germany and globally. The images present us with perspectives that are deeply ambivalent: A pig is lying in a supine position on an operating table, covered by a warmed blanket to prevent hypothermia, surrounded by medical equipment. There is a strong familiarity to the situation, it is a strikingly human image. The aim of the research that is taking place in this lab and others like it is to find ways to extend the life of patients confronted with imminent death. By means of photography we - as the viewers - can take part in learning processes with a deadly outcome.
The series of photographs in this book was created during six months of continual visits to the laboratory. Zapatka’s engagement with his photographic subjects over this period of time resulted in images that speak of both proximity and ambivalence. There is a fluidity to the boundary between animal and human. There is Zapatka’s obvious and deep appreciation of his subjects, with a stance that remains free of judgement. His perspective is personal, yet his images speak a universal language.