Saturday afternoon, some friends and I went to the Unnaturally Natural: Zoological Specimens & Photography talk at the Nelson-Atkins.  Historian John Herron and photographer Laszlo Layton spoke about “the aesthetic of the specimen: how specimens are displayed and interpreted and how this relates to our experience of the natural world and our understanding of history.”  It was an event paired with the Cabinet of Curiosities: Photography & Specimens exhibition there that I’ve seen a few times since it opened in September.  I thought the talks were great!  John Herron is a professor of History at UMKC and he’s very knowledgable about the Dyche panorama at the KU Natural History Museum (for which I moved to Lawrence).  I thought his lecture was fascinating and so engaging!  I took so many notes on his awesome (and totally relevant to some of the projects I am working on) material and I’m stoked to check out some of his publications.

Laszlo Layton gave an artist talk that I thought was endearingly honest.  I think it’s still pretty rare for an artist to sort of “give away” how exactly they make their photographs, how they worked when they first started making art, the mistakes they made, vulnerable parts of their career.  He made making his work seem fun and exciting, and he made it seem like that experience is something members of the audience could attain.  I thought that was refreshing.

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