Audubon's Work Bench 

 

How did 19th century naturalists such as John James Audubon make lifelike images of birds before photography? While he marveled at the beauty and intelligence of these birds, he killed scores of them, many more than he needed for his project. He could not, or would not, imagine that any of these exquisite creatures could be hunted to extinction, yet his project certainly contributed to the extinction of at least six of the species he pictured.

 

I have tried to reimagine the workbench of Audubon as he made his prints. Like Audubon, I have posed the birds in ways that simulate lifelike movement. Unlike Audubon, I leave the wires, strings, and nails showing. 

 

The photographs are made with the cooperation of the following institutions: Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Bernice Barbour Wildlife Center (North Grafton), Worcester State University (Biology Department), and the Davis Raptor Center (Davis, California). The artist respects all laws and regulations as set forth in the Massachusetts Fish & Wildlife Statues & Regulations.

 

© 2014 by Catherine Wilcox-Titus

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