Epitaphs/ Silent Stories
I was initially drawn to dioramas in Natural History museums, because of the dramatic tension between illusion and representation, the fake and the real, truth and fiction. The animals are lifelike, realistic, set in meticulously constructed idyllic environments, realities frozen in time, and most likely, already altered by now. It was later on, while reading their individual stories, that I understood that there was a sub text, what one sees when reading between the lines.
All of these animals, independently of their conservation status, are subject to the same imminent dangers: Loss of habitat, repercussions of climate change, deforestation, poaching, all man created, all leading towards what is now being named “The Sixth Extinction”.
The facts are overwhelming and frightening, demonstrating our most current contemporary problems of sustainability, loss of biodiversity, along with our collective responsibility as humans who are called to make difficult decisions on this precarious balance.
By presenting these monochromatic photographs of animals with hand painted and drawn interventions, I invite the viewer to stop, experience a moment of uncertainty, perceiving it as a photograph, or a painting, questioning perception and consciousness, and in doing this, re-considering the relationship of illusion to reality. I also invite the viewer to contemplate the silent stories of these animals and consider why they matter to us.
An epitaph is the writing on a tombstone. It speaks of mourning. My photographs are both an ode to nature’s grandeur, and a lament about our waning connection to it. One is left with both a sense of awe as well as grief, that a harmonious coexistence might be an illusion. Yet, the overriding feeling is that of the urgent responsibility we have to halt the disappearance of animal species and their worlds because they do matter.