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ANIMAL/Anima

 

The connections between humans and animals have been depicted since pieces of charcoal were first taken to the walls of cave. From superiority to love, from indifference to outrage, from fear to joy, Animal/anima follows our interaction with animals in all its variations. This three part series allows us to consider how we feel by scrutinizing how we behave.

 

Part I, At the Edge, takes the carnage of animals killed in traffic and turns it into something, which at times is nearly content free. The abstract compositions elicit empathy, but steer clear of sentimentality as they become studies of feather and fur, texture and light. These animals are no less beautiful than those that are depicted in nature, but their death changes our reaction. Images of wild beasts eviscerated by modern machines, allow us to see them in ways that could never happen if they were alive.

 

After spending two years looking at remnants of death through my camera I discovered more questions than Part I asked. Part II, In Our Care, investigates these new issues using many of the same visual techniques. The specifics of how we relate to living animals are addressed with the addition of details present in every frame. These photographs are more benevolent than those in the first part and often display a tenderness and connection. The gesture of a hand or the tilt of a head combined with scales or fur tell us a great deal about these relationships.

 

Part III, At Our Servicereturns to the challenge of Part I as it looks at the dramatic ways that humans intervene in the lives of animals. Veterinary surgeries, breeding facilities, petting zoos, and rescues serve as the environments for these studies. While some of what is captured may be disturbing, it reminds us that our interactions with animals are not always benign. This complexity completes a picture of the wholeness that is our relationship with the creatures around us.