Amanda Tinker’s series in progress, Small Animal, is an examination of one particular way we experience nature: intimately and up-close, yet obscured and with intangibility. The black and white images, made as palladium prints, are composed on the ground glass of an 8×10 view camera. The resulting pictures incite the feeling of looking through a window to a place unknown, or of making shadow puppets against fogged glass. These pictures continue to recall to me Natural Findings by Cheryle St. Onge. Both projects feature a dark tone and the repeated image of a hand reaching for or grasping the simple but marvelous creations of nature.

From the artist’s statement: This new work, still in progress, looks at the natural world as if it were held just for our observation, suspended far from any recognizable landscape. Nature’s small beauties, such as birds, butterflies, flowers, and flecks of dirt, become objects of contemplation. The [ground glass] of the 8×10″ view camera, on which these studies are composed, factors greatly into the work. It is a projection screen for my interest in the early history of photography, particularly as a tool for studying nature. One can imagine an era just before the dawn of photography where views of nature stirred on the glass of a camera obscura. Nature had been transformed through optical devices giving way to a diminutive view; the landscape on a smaller, more intimate scale. This project, situated in the 21st century, reflects a more ambivalent, if not estranged, experience of the natural world.

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