This current work is an investigation of how photography is used to distort and idealize nature for commercial purpose. I can trace my interest in this subject back to the wildlife picture magazines my parents subscribed to when I was growing up. As a child the epitome of art was “the National Geographic” photograph. The images were, sometimes stunning, sometimes elegant, sometimes gentle and graceful, but always aesthetically pleasing and emotionally evocative. I was fascinated with what I did not know at the time was an idealized form of nature.
As I began to see more of the world I started to realize that the reality I had constructed from the images I had seen was not authentic. I tried to photograph with wild in its unaffected state and was repeatedly disappointed. The light was never as beautiful, the colors were not as vivid, the focus not as selective and the scenes were never as intimate. It wasn’t until I had done some research and subsequent informed observation that I began to understand how the myth was created. I then began to employ these techniques in my own pictorial explorations.
The images I create are not a value judgement about wildlife photography. I still very much enjoy looking at National Geographic and the like. I am merely re-evaluating my ideas concerning the beauty of nature as opposed to the beauty of the photographic image. I am exploring the modes of deception and viewer manipulation present in wildlife photography. By the use of artificial animals the photographs play on the viewer’s sense of beauty while revealing the artifice of widely accepted images of our natural world.