Traer Scott Statement

Artist Statement
In 2008, during a long anticipated visit to the American Museum of Natural History in New York, I accidentally created an intriguing image while photographing their dioramas. A reflection of my husband, inadvertently rendered in the glass and framed behind a large ostrich, gave me pause. A few months later, I began to frequent diorama exhibits around the country. It is exhilarating and humbling to be the catalyst for these truly alchemical images, born of random timing and fractured light passing through my lens.

Natural History is a series of completely candid, in-camera single exposure images which merge the living and the dead, in an effort to construct allegorical narratives of our troubled co-existence with nature. Ghost-like reflections of modern visitors viewing exquisitely rendered wildlife dioramas are juxtaposed against the preserved subjects themselves, their faces molded into permanent expressions of fear, aggression or fleeting passivity.

The animals in these dioramas were collected (and killed) by "naturalists" primarily in the late 19th and very early 20th century. Specimens donated to or bought by museums delivered information and exotic delight to the public in an age long before motion pictures or widespread travel. “Collecting” was an extremely popular gentlemen’s hobby in the Victorian and Edwardian years however, the lust for amassing and categorizing flora and fauna, even with the intent of increasing scientific knowledge, often granted adventurers carte blanch for extermination. After a century of over-hunting, climate change, poaching and destruction of habitat, many of these long dead diorama specimens now represent endangered or completely extinct species.

Process Statement
This series is comprised of completely candid, single exposure images made in camera with minimal re-touching or manipulation.

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