Abstraction is fundamentally a process of reduction. A sheep becomes wool; earth and organisms are "nature"; individuals are animals, then consumable bones and flesh. By separating the subject from its whole, and the whole from its details, a sense of generic "other" and neutralized distance makes seeing the unique individual or environment harder.
A congregation of sheep shows their coats before they become our coats.
A wider view shows them as a group.
At the time of this photo I was ready for a nap myself, and related to this moment of repose.
Wildfires had scorched thousands of acres in this Oregon territory. Henry located some remains that stood out against the blackened earth. This is life reduced to the suggestion of life - teeth and a jaw that once supported a being. Skeletal remains are reminders of what is shared across species -- beings with teeth and jaws and organs and skin are likely to experience similarly being injured, helped or harmed.
Near these skeletal remains, tufts of fur blew in the Nevada wind. Other remains nearby suggested about eight dead coyotes had been left on this nondescript land not far from the highway.
A fragment of lifeless vertebrae on this Oregon scorched earth contrasts with Henry alive and alert in the background.
This shell was once home to a spiny sea urchin. Sea urchins have genders, organs, a simple nervous system and circulation and respiration systems. Urchin actually means hedgehog in Middle English.
The remains of kelp or seaweed are marked on this stone near the Pacific Ocean.
The Big Picture
This aerial of the middle of the U.S removes individuals from the picture, showing a broader context within which the ongoing dramas of species and individuals unfolds.