Instinct

CFP 2019

Proposals deadline extended to 18.1.2019

Membrana no. 6 seeks to address how and why does the notion of being human revolve around our perception of what it means to be an animal or beast – and how is the relationship imaged and constructed through photography. We are interested not only in representations of animals but also in the way in which this human-animal relation is ideologically enforced or subdued through imagery, and how the notion of instinct defines the photographic process as well as photographic representation.

Photographs of animals always held a significant presence throughout the history of the medium, a testimony of particular fascination and desire to either decode or ascribe meaning to the non-human. The sheer number and diversity of photographic representations of animals (and non-photographic pictorial tradition of representing imaginary beasts) testifies of instinctive relationality of the relationship – while captivating our sight, animals also look back at us as if questioning our very notion of humanity – as if we instinctively understand that we can only look for human-ness via our engagement with the pet, the wild or tamed animal, the beast.

Whether used as commodities for exchange, marketing tools for commodification, tools of scientific research or tokens of domestic familiarity, silent trophies from exotic places or city zoos, the images speak of a certain process of domestication of both a sign and a referent. There seems to be a shift from the old photo-humanistic belongingness of The Family of Man to the growing disillusionment of Anthropocene, where a certain demand for a new kind of responsibility, a new kind of not only trans-cultural but also trans-species belonging arises.

We invite textual and visual contributions that explore photographic representations of animals from (but not limited to) the following perspectives:

  • contemporary and historical representations of animals
  • animal photography and social media
  • photography and notion of instinct (e.g. photographer as predator)
  • scientific documentation of animals (Crittercams, photo-traps, camptrail cameras etc.)
  • fine art animal photos
  • nature documentary, safari photos, hunting and photography
  • photographing dead animals
  • taxidermy as a proto-photographic practice
  • self-made animal images (animal selfies)
  • animals ascribed human characteristics and vice versa
  • animals as a contemporary totems or status symbols
  • animals  and questions of human identity (totemistic animals, but also subcultures, such as furries)
  • hybrids, fantastic creatures and their ideological applications

Format of contributions


  • Essays, theoretical papers, overview articles, interviews (approx. 14.000 characters with spaces), visuals encouraged.
  • Short essays, columns (approx. 6.000 characters with spaces), visuals encouraged.
  • Photographic projects and artwork: proposals for non-commissioned work or samples of work.

Contributions will be published in the English edition – magazine Membrana (ISSN 2463-8501) as well as in the Slovenian edition – magazine Fotografija (ISSN 1408-3566).

Proposals and deadlines


Please contact the editors at editors(at)membrana.si. The deadline for contribution proposals (150-word abstracts and/or visuals) is 18.1.2019. The deadline for finished contributions from accepted proposals is 20 March 2019. Please send proposals or contact the editors at editors@membrana.si.

About Membrana


Membrana is a contemporary photography magazine dedicated to promoting a profound and theoretically grounded understanding of photography. Its aim is to encourage new, bold, and alternative conceptions of photography as well as new and bold approaches to photography in general. Positioning itself in the space between scholarly magazines and popular publications, it offers an open forum for critical reflection on the medium, presenting both analytical texts and quality visuals. The magazine is published bi-annually in the summer and winter in the English language and in Slovenian under the title Fotografija by the Slovene non-profit institute Membrana.

Reading Time: 3 minutes
While captivating our sight, animals also look back at us as if questioning our very notion of humanity – as if we instinctively understand that we can only look for human-ness via our engagement with the pet, the wild or tamed animal, the beast.
Reading Time: 3 minutes
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