Cart Search
submit Remember my login

2019 SPE Annual Conference: The Myths of Photography and the American Dream / Major support by The Joy Family Legacy Foundation

Looking for a chapter event?

Past SPE Annual Conferences

Diane Fox

SPE Member since 2006
Member Chapter: South Central

UnNatural History

I am interested in the ways we objectify nature, both positively and negatively. The dancing, happy pigs used as icons for BBQ joints and meatpacking plants have always struck me as deeply ironic. Plastic animals take us for rides in theme parks and animated versions sell us products. Nature comes to us, viewed through glass windows at the zoo, natural history museum or framed on television. Likewise, the photograph objectifies the world as seen through the lens of the camera.

We visit natural history museums for a glimpse of our natural world, a world we often do not experience first hand. We view animals from far off places and times at a safe distance. Dioramas (and photographs) create a framed moment of nature frozen in time. The more closely they resemble an actual space and event, the more closely the taxidermied animals appear to breath life, the deeper our sense of wonder and connection.

It is this dichotomy between the real and the unreal, the version of life portrayed and the actuality of death, the inherent beauty of the animals within their fabricated environment and the understanding of its invention, that finds me both attracted and repelled.

Tiger and Flowers, Natural History Museum, London, England

Dialogue, American Museum, New York, New York

Seagulls, The Slovak Museum of Natural History, Bratislova, Slovakia

Birds, Fernbank Museum, Atlanta, Georgia

Wrapped, Milwaukee Public Museum, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Animals Reflecting, California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, California

Bear, Amican Museum of Natural History, New York, New York

Buffalo, Field Museum, Chicago, Illinois



Barn Owl


Blue Crowned Pigeon





Rabbit 2

Fox 2

Great Horned Owl

Scarlet Ibis



Monkey 2

Suspended, Denver Museum of Science and Nature

Vulture, Denver Museum of Science & Nature

Gray Wolf, Denver Museum of Science and Nature

Exploration, Museum of Natural History, Iowa City, Iowa

Email Sign Up

SPE email updates contain resources, news, and more!

About this piece

Comments about this piece

Dialogue and critique are important to the SPE mission.
Please join the conversation.

Exit Full Screen Mode