Sunday, January 1, 2012

Hello, 2012!

Another year has ended, and what a year it was! Not only do I feel my photography improved vastly over the past twelve months, I also am proud of trying new things – artistically, with the camera and otherwise. I am quite pleased with the amount of decomposition-documentation I achieved in 2011, both with March Buck and Needham Opossum, and I'd like to continue that this year. I'm also very happy with how much I've learned in the past half-year concerning skinning, tanning, and taxidermy, and one of these days, I'll make a post specifically about what I've accomplished in that field.

Anyway, as I did last year, I'd like to document my favorite photographs of 2011, beginning with January and ending with December.

December Crow

January 2011: I didn't photograph any dead creatures "in the wild." However, I did document the process of creating a study mount, and I found that to be incredibly interesting (and a bit inspiring). 

February 2011: February is a tough month to find photographic subjects (and I don't just mean dead animals – February in Michigan is generally quite gray, cold, and gloomy). I did find this robin, though, and it provided a splash of color in an otherwise dreary month.

March 2011: This was by far the most productive month of the year, and I found lots of animals, both freshly-dead and as dry skeletons. March Buck was a very important find for me, as a photographic subject, and also as a project. I documented his decomposition in my parents' backyard, then cleaned his skull. It now rests atop our record player.

April 2011: I took several trips to the Mammal Division at the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, and one of the most interesting visits concerned the wet-preserved specimens. Though I am very happy to be back in Marquette, I do miss the museums of Ann Arbor, as they provided many photographic opportunities.

May 2011: Needham Opossum was so much fun to photograph. After initially picking him up off the road in March, I hadn't had much interest in keeping any of his bones. But as he decomposed over the weeks, I began to realize there was something special about him. His gnarly skull, pitted with holes and strange growths, is now one of my favorite skulls in my collection.

Young Robin III

June 2011: This young robin was a powerful subject for me; I saw it die when it was struck by a car, and I felt its warmth in my hands.

Portrait of a Dead Hen

July 2011: The last month living in Ann Arbor, we spent many hours traveling – to Marquette and back, to New York and back, and finally, a one-way trip to Marquette. I photographed only one dead animal, and to date, it's the only domestic animal I've photographed for this project.

August 2011: Photographing a skunk is a delicate process; skinning a skunk is even more delicate. After photographing this young female skunk, I case-skinned her. I'll make a post about it in the coming days.

September 2011: The claws of a small snapping turtle that had just been hit on the road in front of our house. The muscles in the tail were still firing, despite the turtle being very dead. This was a very sad subject for me to photograph.

October 2011: This snow bunting, a road casualty, was a new subject for me. It was a bit of a challenge to photograph.

November 2011: I have grown to love juncos. They have such subtle coloration, and it's not until you see them up-close that you can truly appreciate it. This is one of my favorite bird portraits of the year.

 December 2011: More of an abstraction than a portrait of a dead animal. The dead goldeneye was frozen solid in an awkward position; in any other situation, I might have had very little with which to work. However, the goldeneye was covered in a layer of ice crystals, which made for some very interesting compositions.

So, here we are, at the start of a new year. I hope it's a good one!

1 comment:

  1. I love your work.
    I do a lot of work with dead animals and images as well.
    I find your work inspiring.