Yana Wernicke

Following cats is impossible but exciting. They can sense me from miles away and their acrobatics allow them to take paths that I am unable to follow. Following cows, on the other hand, is kind of boring — I am being ignored, as food seems to be their prime and only motivation for moving. Following dogs is unpredictable, their olfactory paths can suddenly make them disappear into the shrubs. Following a goat is easy, as it will always follow the goat in front of it. Following anything that can fly is like magic but also deeply unsatisfying — there are no traces, only the disappointing feeling of being tied to the ground. Following donkeys is dangerous, they don’t like being followed.
As I track and follow these animals through the landscape of Lessinia in the hope of getting closer the them, I become lost. My sense of direction gets jammed, and while my all-too-human view of my surroundings fades away, I feel my senses come alive and new paths opening up in the more-than-human world that lies before me. If following a path means rewriting it, what is it that I wrote? Maybe the result is not for me to read, but for the one who follows behind me.


Yana Wernicke (*1990) is a German photographer currently based in a small town close to Frankfurt am Main. Her work often revolves around the photographic depiction of animals and humankind’s relationship to nature and other beings.

In collaboration with the photographer Jonas Feige, she worked on the project Zenker, which addresses the history of German colonialism in Cameroon. A book of the project was published by Edition Patrick Frey in 2021.

Her most recent work is a portrait of two young women who have established profound relationships with animals and an exploration of the ideas of species loneliness and interspecies relationships. The project was published as a photobook in the spring of 2023 by Loose Joints.