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2010-present

Collecting Feathers: Photogenic Drawings of Birds from Natural History Collections

Photogenic drawing is the term given by William Henry Fox Talbot in the 1830's to his first photographic images on paper. Contemporaneous with Fox Talbot’s development of a negative-positive photographic process was the increased use of taxidermy to display specimen birds in natural history collections. Birds that date from this early period of museum displays often reveal the animated poses, pedestals, and taxonomic tagging prevalent at that time.

“Collecting Feathers: Photogenic Drawings of Birds from Natural History Collections” is the result of straightforward combinations of objects and light-sensitive surfaces. Choices made during the imaging process result in a set of allusions that are the product of the recording process and the birds.

All of the images consist of single or tiled 16” x 20” gelatin silver contact prints.

This project was supported in part by the Lattie Coor Fund, University of Vermont, and the Faculty Resource Network, New York University. Birds are courtesy of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University; the Redpath Museum, McGill University; the Zadock Thompson Museum, University of Vermont; the American Museum of Natural History; Cornell University Museum of Vertebrates.

Flamingoes (courtesy of Cornell University Museum of Vertebrates)
Arctonetta fischeri (courtesy of American Museum of Natural History)
Hummingbirds (courtesy of Redpath Museum, McGill University)
Dendroica (courtesy of Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University)
Archolocus colubris (courtesy of Zadock Thompson Collection, University of Vermont)
Botaurus lentiginosus (courtesy of Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University)
Leucosticte atrata (courtesy of American Museum of Natural History)
Ramphastos toco (courtesy of American Museum of Natural History)
Troglodytes troglodytes (courtesy of Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University)
Menura superba (courtesy of Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University)
Paradisaea apoda (courtesy of American Museum of Natural History)
Eudocimus ruber (courtesy of Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University)
Somateria spectabilis (courtesy of Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University)
Egretta caerulea (courtesy of Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University)
Phoethon lepterus (courtesy of Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University)
Steganopus tricolor. Micropalana himantopus (courtesy of Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University)
Anthracothorax viridigula (courtesy of Redpath Museum, McGill University)
Amazona ochrocephala (courtesy of American Museum of Natural History)
Paradisaea apoda (courtesy of Redpath Museum, Mcgill University)
Oreotyx picta (courtesy of Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University)
Poicephalus senegalus (courtesy of Redpath Museum, McGill University)
Carduelis pinus (courtesy of Redpath Museum, McGill University)
Eupetomena macroura (courtesy of Redpath Museum, McGill University)
Ardea herodius (courtesy of Redpath Museum, McGill University)
Hummingbird tree (courtesy of American Museum of Natural History)
Paradisaea rudolphi (courtesy of National Museums, Liverpool)
Arctic loon (courtesy of National Museums, Liverpool)
Pelican
snowy egrets (courtesy of American Museum of Natural History)
great blue herons (courtesy of American Museum of Natural History)