Natural history museums began as cabinets of curiosities. To gather material, a scientist would go into the field. His only options of recording what he had seen were to either draw it or kill it. If he chose the later, specimens were sent to the taxidermist.
When I am in a museum, I act as a taxidermist. I am preserving the animals through photography. I use my camera to look into their eyes and give a small amount of life back to them.
I use the POP (printing-out paper) process because it is a historical process and yields rich detail and subtle tone. It is a perfect match for my subject matter: old, yet timeless. In my final presentation, the square format and wooden frames reference early display cases.
Katherine Cummings received her B.F.A from the Art Institute of Boston in 2005. Her photography has been shown in Boston, Chicago and Seattle. The photographs are printed using a 19th century alternative process. She mixes her own chemistry and gold tones the images, making each printed photograph one-of-a-kind. Katherine resides in Seattle, WA. She continues to photograph natural history images and is currently working on new portfolios.
Natural History Published July 23, 2009