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

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Emma Kisiel

SPE Member since 2011
Member Chapter: Northwest

Real Enough

I wonder if the relationship we as humans share with animals and nature is genuine, authentic, real enough. For four years beginning in 2013, I visited natural history museums, zoos, and other places where visitors can experience captive and preserved animals in over half the states across the US while thinking about whether our interactions with animals and nature are sincere and substantial or artificial and contrived.

As humans in a fast-paced, overwhelmingly digital existence, we seek a connection with animals and the natural world in order to feel whole. So many of our interactions feel limited, as we are always at a bit of a distance from our non-human animal counterparts and the physicality of our planet. The visitor's experience of animals and nature at zoos, museums, and other like places is curated, controlled, dulled down or played up. My photographs highlight the divide between humans and "the wild," and the various ways in which the wild is experienced today.

Cockatiels; Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle

Reptile Enclosure; Rolling Hills Zoo, Salina, KS

Dolphins, American Museum of Natural History

Henry's Scrap Metals; Pocatello, ID

Plant; Mount Angel Abbey Museum, Saint Benedict, OR

Bird, Oregon Zoo

Texas Bobcat; Mount Angel Abbey Museum, Saint Benedict, OR

Your Next Hunt; Wood Oil Co, Lawrence, KS

Cutler Hauling; Pocatello, ID

Bear; Sunset Hwy, OR

Meramec Caverns; Sullivan, MO

Bite, Northeast Iowa

Please, Do Not; The Grotto, Portland, OR

Nature's Silent Balance; Idaho Museum of Natural History, Pocatello

Golden Lion Tamarin, Kansas City Zoo

Light, Denver Museum of Nature and Science

Doris Butterfly; Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium, New Orleans

Zebras; Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Pittsburgh

Victoria Crowned Pigeon; The National Aviary, Pittsburgh

Abnormal Coloration in Birds; University of Kansas Natural History Museum, Lawrence

Crescent Beach Trail; Ecola State Park, OR

Geese; North Coast Coins, Crescent City, CA

I Am Here, I Am Harmless; Oregon Zoo

Come Back and See Us; Wild Animal Safari, Strafford, MO

Empty Quarter (Rub' al Khali), Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

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