When photographer Nick Brandt discovered perfectly preserved birds and bats on the shoreline of Lake Natron in northern Tanzania, he took a detour from his usual work.
“I could not help but photograph them,” he says. “No one knows for certain exactly how they die, but it appears that the extreme reflective nature of the lake’s surface confuses them, and like birds crashing into plate glass windows, they crash into the lake.”
The lake takes its name from natron, a naturally occurring compound made mainly of sodium carbonate, with a bit of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) thrown in. Here, this has come from volcanic ash, accumulated from the Great Rift valley. Animals that become immersed in the water die and are calcified.
Brendan Hesmondhalgh is a Yorkshire based animal sculptor who works primarily in clay, wax and bronze. Capturing the dynamic nature of animals, and focusing upon structure, movement and character, Hesmondhalgh creates works that encapsulate and embody a creature’s spirit in inimitable style.
Melding her passion for photography with her love of animals, Sharon Montrose creates pretty awesome work.
© Sharon Montrose
Indonisia-based photographer and master Photoshopper Agan Harahap juxtaposes animals in supermarkets in his latest project called Garden Fresh.
“Garden Fresh series investigates the shifting boundaries between humans and animals in today’s environment and the complex relationship between art and nature. It is like a fable about a journey undertaken by the animals when they venture into our daily lives. The animals are confronted by a new reality that is in conﬂict with their natural habits and habitats.
At the same time, when we see these ‘zoo-trapped’ animals in supermarkets, their most outstanding characteristics are isolated as their ‘only’ characteristics. The animals are stripped of their own identities and are used as empty vessels to be ﬁlled with the human drama of parody, satire and allegory. We cannot help but see animals from a human vantage point, and therefore in some sense all the works in the present exhibition are actually about us.”
Beth Cavener Stichter is full-time professional studio artist residing in the U.S. state of Washington. Stichter focuses her sculpture on human psychology, stripped of context and rationalisation, and articulated through animal forms. “On the surface,” says Stichter, “these figures are simply feral animals suspended in a moment of tension. Beneath the surface, they embody the consequences of human fear, apathy, aggression, and misunderstanding”. In making these painstakingly modeled works Stichter has learned to read meaning in the subtler signs; “rely[ing] on animal body language in [her] work as a metaphor for these underlying patterns, transforming the animal subjects into human psychological portraits. Something conscious and knowing is captured in their gestures and expressions, both an invitation and a rebuke.
© Beth Cavener Stichter