Do you read Fauna & Flora?  If not, you should.  It was created in part by my wonderful friend, João Bento.  A couple months ago, João sent me two publications by a Dutch photographer I hadn’t heard of before, Sarah Engelhard.  I was quite pleased by one in particular, a small book of the series, Still Wild.  Although the gallery on the artist’s website is missing some of my favorite images from the book (a seagull, a polecat, a barn owl, a wider photograph of the fox I’m posting here and a stunning, darker view of another), I am happy to feature the ones she chose to include online here.  The book also includes a few nice essays on the subject of the work.  Below is an excerpt from one, Nature Morte by Frits Gierstberg.

There is a piercing and considerable difference between the very untraditional photographs of Sarah Engelhard and the photographs of animals we usually see, for instance in biology textbooks or nature magazines.  Life is self-evident in nature photography.  If there is a tradition this work fits into, it is that of the painted “vanitas still lifes” (in this case, the Dutch “stilleven” and the English “still life” seems less suitable terms than the French “nature morte”).  Here, in these photographs, we are also confronted with the finality of existence and the transitory nature of life.

But there is also an important difference.  These animals died at the hands of humans, run over by high speed traffic.  Sara Engelhard found them by coincidence or through the urban ecologist.  Here we find no reference to any higher virtues than the worldly values to which we have a tendency to cling; here humanity is not warned against its own vanity but against itself.

… looking at one of her photographs becomes a confrontation with finiteness of all existence and the inevitability of our own death.  Only the beauty of the photographs offer us some consolation.

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