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Colleen Plumb: Animals Are Outside Today
Text by Lisa Hostetler.
The photographs of Colleen Plumb (born 1970) examine the scope of intersections and relationships between humankind and other creatures, seeking to draw out the contradictions that have shaped our relationships with animals throughout history. The animals she portrays range from beloved house pets to circus animals and even road kill. Weaving imagery of life and death, Plumb plays with the whole gamut of attachments and emotions we hold toward animals. Karen Irvine of the Museum of Contemporary Photography writes of this work: “[Plumb] uses color, framing and focus to draw our attention to details that are alternately humorous, delightful and disturbing, making the viewing of her pictures an ever-changing and engaging experience.” Animals Are Outside Today is the photographer's first monograph; it collects 74 color photographs that expose both our kinship and our disjuncture from other creatures of this earth.
Featured image, Flamingo, 2000, is reproduced from Animals Are Outside Today, in which Lisa Hostetler writes, "Her photographs frequently depict places where simulated nature and the real thing overlap. In Flamingo, for example, an artificial flamingo burst forth from the center of the composition, an expected presence in the midst of greenhouse snapdragons. The undeniable beauty of the picture, with its delicate rendering of light and color, combined with the playful jolt of recognition it induces, makes the flamingo especially vibrant. Although it is the most obvious form of manufactured nature in the image, in fact, it is not the only one: a greenhouse is by definition an artificial environment and the snapdragons are cultivated, not voluntary. In sum, the picture as a whole is a poignant reminder that the line between the human and animal worlds grows ever thinner as the distinction between nature and culture is increasingly blurred."
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FROM THE BOOK
"Animals Are Outside Today
takes its name from a sign that photographer Colleen Plumb encountered on a visit to the zoo on a sunny, temperate day. Taken out of context, the little reads as an existential tautology, albeit one that it is easy to forget while subsumed in the activities of everyday metropolitan life. Like Plumb's title, the snapshots of the fawn in y neighbor's backyard were reminders that animals--'wild' animals--are indeed outdoors among us today and every day. Outside is, of course, their native habitat as it is ours. But why is it so easy to forget this fact? Is I because we imagine ourselves as harmless, benevolent beings but at the same time consider the natural world as belonging to us alone? If we remembered that animals are outside today, would we behave different on a daily basis?"
Lisa Hostetler, excerpted from Breaking Wild in Animals Are Outside Today.
USD $65.00 | CAN $90 UK £ 57
Pub Date: 2/25/2020
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USD $50.00 | CAN $67.5 UK £ 45
Pub Date: 7/31/2011
Active | In stock