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An archive of contemporary artists who explore humans' interactions with animals and nature

Read the author's notes about relevant conferences, exhibitions, opportunities, etc.

Jesse Burke

SPE NW Conference, Grand Teton National Park

This time last month, I was attending/speaking at the Northwest regional SPE conference in Wyoming. The conference venue was AMK Ranch, a historic site on the banks of Jackson Lake in Grand Teton National Park, operated by the University of Wyoming. It was at last year’s regional SPE conference that I learned that the fall 2018 conference would be in Grand Teton NP. While I was intrigued, learning that the conference theme was “Human/Nature” is what sealed the deal – I had to go, and I had to submit a proposal to speak. I was accepted, and even though I had just done the drive from Portland to Yellowstone/Grand Teton NP in June, I committed to being there. I’m so glad I did.

Once I got to the ranch, I was blown away. It was amazing to be in these beautiful, historic buildings, listening to artists, many of whom I’ve admired for years (and featured here!), talk about their work concerned with humans and nature. As it was a small and intimate conference, there was only one track. I got in around noon on Friday, so I missed the workshop period, but I got to see talks by Evan Baden, Skott Chandler, instructors at Northwest College (who talked about their Photo Field Studies program in Yellowstone), Nancy Floyd, and Janet Neuhauser, as well as the first keynote, Clare Benson (who/whose work I just adore). On Saturday, I was there for presentations by Erika Osborne; Alexis Pike; Anh-Thuy Nguyen, Carlos Rene Pacheco, and Jacinda Russell; Daniel George; Amjad Faur; Nicole Jean Hill (who shared the Lora Webb Nichols Photography Archive); Janet Pritchard; and students Garrett Cruzan, June Sanders, Jessica Hays, Ryan Parker, and Leah Schretenthaler. The second keynote was Jesse Burke, and that was wonderful (this post’s featured image is Frost from his series Intertidal).

I can’t stress enough how impressed I was by this conference. For being held at what I think of as a very atypical venue, the conference went smoothly and the content was fascinating and inspiring. I’m really, really excited for next year’s conference, in #spoileralert Alaska!!!

Home

A Whole New Site

Shining, shimmering, splendid!

It’s been a goal of mine for the past few years to transition Muybridge’s Horse from a blog to the sustainable, timeless archive/artist index it’s had the potential to be. Over the summer, I learned that I had the opportunity to speak at an SPE conference for the first time. When I told Dan (my collaborator on the web development end), he must have read my mind, because he asked if I would like to upgrade MH in the ways we’d been talking about since the last time we gave the site a facelift. It was a scramble to get it done in time, and although I was nervous (like, crazy nervous?!) to give my talk, seeing the site in the form that we’d always sort of dreamed gave me a ton of confidence. My presentation included screenshots since there was no internet at the historic ranch where the conference was held, but knowing it would hold up if I had been demoing the site live made me feel like a proud parent.

Is it silly to include on a website screenshots of the very website being viewed? Yes, probably. However, on the off-chance that you were not intending to click over to the site from wherever you’re viewing this, I’m going to do it. But seriously, check out how beautiful this website looks and how gorgeously it functions. I made it for you, after all.

Let me share this whole new world with you! A wondrous place, for you and me!
Do it for the Aladdin references!

Barry Lopez

Currently Reading

Around this time every year, I take stock of this website and think about its roots and its evolution. Last month marks five years since Muybridge’s Horse launched. A lot has changed since then – I left my largely undemanding desk job (that allowed me to turn my blog into a comprehensive website) and my quiet, slow life in Kansas and made the move to Portland, where I worked part-time for two years before gaining full-time status last summer. I stopped having free time that I could devote to researching, emailing with, and writing about artists. And blogs pretty much ceased to be a thing.

Due to all these changes, I’ve moved from updating twice weekly to once per week – if that, at times. I’m always trying to tell myself, “That’s okay!” I remind myself that this website is for me, and anyone who happens to see it as well is a bonus. I’ll keep posting here for as long as I can, however infrequently. Maybe (hopefully), 2018 will be the year the site changes form a bit and becomes less of a blog/feed and more of an archive and artist index. It is so difficult to imagine my life without MH. Thank you for being here.

As always, submissions are OPEN. Email me with your art or the art of folks you know or the art that you love – muybridgeshorse@gmail.com. For now, I thought I’d share some of what I’m reading, as I’m reading more now than I have in a long time. (And just in case you didn’t know, you can keep up with MH on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.)

Apologia, Barry Lopez I have been meaning to read this story for so long. Of course I’ve been aware of Barry Lopez and his writings, especially since moving to the Northwest, but I had yet to find Apologia since it was recommended to me during the portfolio walkthrough at the national SPE conference in San Francisco in 2012. I’m an avid library user and I prefer to borrow books whenever possible, but my library system didn’t have a copy. It took briefly living in a different county this summer and registering for a library card there for me to finally get this book into my hands, and I absolutely loved reading it (and looking at the woodcuts by Robin Eschner). So many things I’ve read recently have made my heart hurt with emotion. This book is no exception.

The Dead Bird, Margaret Wise Brown I can’t believe it, but I only found out about this book when reading Ellyn Kail’s post about the Remembering Animals exhibition on Feature Shoot. This one my library did have… right downstairs from my office. The copy I read is illustrated by Christian Robinson, of Last Stop on Market Street fame (and of Gaston fame, to me). I’d love to track down older versions to see the illustrations. The ones by Remy Charlip look pretty wonderful.

Beyond the Dark Veil: Post Mortem & Mourning Photography This is another book I have been after for a long time. Many months ago, I put in a purchase suggestion at, you guessed it, my library. I was thrilled when they bought it! And it came to me as a hold. I’ll admit that I’ve had to return it and put it on hold a couple of times since then, as I really wanted to spend some time with it. The past few days I’ve flipped through it several times – and it is incredible. I can’t wait to read the essays that accompany the amazing images.

Comic Epitaphs from the Very Best Old Graveyards Can I mention the library one more time? If you haven’t realized by now, I work at a public library, in the administration division. One of my roles is to post on social media and keep up with other libraries’ profiles. A library we follow mentioned that they received this book as a donation, and I immediately added it to my Amazon Wish List of books. Then it occurred to me to see if my own library has a copy, and we do! This was super fun and lovely to read. It reminded me of waiting in line for The Haunted Mansion at Disney World/Disneyland – reading the funny gravestones leading up to the ride is almost my favorite part.

Of One and The Other, Jayanti Seiler Lastly, I am truly looking forward to digging into Jayanti Seiler’s beautiful photo book, which arrived in the mail last weekend. I supported this book through GoFundMe; Jayanti is seeking funding to self-publish a limited edition of her high-quality fine art book consisting of text and over 50 images from her project. An additional set of books will be printed within a couple of months. Check out the project and give your support now as these books are only available through March.

Other things I’ve been reading:
Pigeons: A Complete Pet Owner’s Manual I bought my first house (!) earlier this year, and my dreams of keeping pigeons may finally be on the near horizon. I love learning everything about them. If you have tips or insider knowledge, get in touch!
When a Pet Dies, Fred Rogers The world did not deserve the gift that was Mister Rogers. I adore him, and reading this sweet book for kids after seeing the Remembering Animals exhibition was poignant.
You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me, Sherman Alexie I love the chapter “Drive, She Said,” about how Alexie’s mother would stop for roadkill, collecting a porcupine and taking it home to harvest its quills for war-dance regalia – “and the dozens of times she gave extraordinary meaning to ordinary porcupines and their quills.”

Emma Kisiel

Remembering Animals: Rituals, Artifacts & Narratives in Contemporary Art

I am so excited to share that this Saturday, February 10 is the opening of Remembering Animals: Rituals, Artifacts & Narratives in Contemporary Art at CSUN Art Galleries in Northridge, CA. The exhibition examines the ways in which contemporary artists contemplate and investigate aspects of animal death, from the very personal loss of a companion animal to the “invisible” animal deaths we are constantly surrounded by, including factory farmed and road-killed animals. Included in the show is a range of work by artists Steve Baker, Curtis Bartone, Joe Bautista, Linda Brant, Kathy High, Hyewon Keum, Sarah Perry, Julia Schlosser, Craig Stecyk, and myself. Visit the exhibition’s website, rememberinganimals.art to learn more.

In the exhibition catalog’s preface, curator Julia Schlosser writes: In this exhibition, we ask viewers to experience potentially difficult images of animals who have died and artworks made from their bodies. “Remembering Animals” hopes to create an intimate space where we can consider these artworks. Rather than turn away, we invite you to “bear witness” for a moment, and create an empathetic conduit with a non-human animal.

Animal death, like death in any form, is a challenging subject to encounter and embrace. Personally, many of us who have lived closely with pet or companion animals mourn their passing deeply. On a global level, non-human animal deaths exemplify many of the ways that we, as human animals, fall short in our efforts to manage our ecosystems and their inhabitants. From overwhelmingly large issues like factory farming, animal experimentation, and species extinction to the closer-to-home deaths of pets and road-killed animals, we’re all faced with difficult choices regarding our relationships with non-human animals every day. Jon Christensen points out that we live in “a world in which human agency is at once vast and ineffectual.” The nexus of our individual and collective decisions affects animals and the quality of their lives on the planet, whether we want them to or not. This exhibition examines the ways that artwork can and does speak not just about the animals themselves, but also about these larger issues.

In addition to the opening reception Saturday, February 10, 4-6 pm, Julia Schlosser will give a gallery talk on Monday, February 12, at 10 am, and Curtis Bartone will give an artist talk on Thursday, February 22, at 11 a.m. The exhibition is on view through March 17.

In conjunction with the exhibition is Julia Schlosser and Joe Bautista’s anilum: A Digital Candle-lighting Memorial Experience. With this web-based art piece, anyone can become a part of an online community celebrating the lives and mourning the loss of the animals that are important to us. As of this writing, there are 60 beautiful, touching contributions to the site (and one of my own, Candy.)

I am so looking forward to attending the exhibition opening this weekend and seeing the show, the gorgeous catalog created by Julia Schlosser, and anilum in person. If you’re in the Los Angeles area, go see this exhibition that’s sure to be incredible (and come say hi to me on Saturday!). I hope to share photos from the exhibition later this month.

SPE NW Conference, Corvallis

It had been a number of years, but the weekend before last, my best friend Daniel Quay and I were able to attend an SPE conference together, this time at OSU in Corvallis, Oregon. We arrived a bit too late to make it to any of the workshops on time, so we walked around the art building, got settled at our Airbnb, and went back to the campus for the keynote speaker, Richard Misrach (this post’s featured image is from his Border Cantos). I fondly remember scanning this beloved image from an old issue of Contact Sheet or Aperture to add to the visual resource collection at one of my internships (and posting about it here back when this was more of a personal blog), and I’d be lying if I said this talk wasn’t 100% of the reason I wanted to go to this conference. It definitely lived up to my expectations.

Talks I attended on Saturday were David P. Bayles’s “From Chainsaw to Camera: A Life with Trees,” Colleen Mullins’s “Shark Tank – Photography Book Edition,” Tara Champion’s “Modern Documentary Practices: A case study of working with Yup’ik Eskimos on the Yukon Delta, Alaska,” Larry Landis’s “Photography for the People: 125 Years of Photographic Instruction at Oregon State University,” Eirik Johnson’s “Sharing Experience – or How I Learned to Love Collaboration,” and a conversation with Rafael Soldi and Christopher Russell at the Corvallis Arts Center.

I learned so much! I enjoyed every talk I went to. I think I used to expect a lot from going to SPE; the Midwest region has so many members, and every conference I went to there was full of energy and discovery and connections being made. These days, I find I’m just so satisfied listening to people talk about art and learning the stories behind beautiful images. Something else I appreciated was how much of the content was focused on the environment and conservation. I think that’s an aspect of the Northwest region, and I’m happy to be a part of it.

Living With Animals, Days 3 & 4 and Field Trips

See my post about the first two days of the Living With Animals conference here

Although I didn’t attend as many talks the second half of the conference as the first, and the second half wasn’t focused on art like the first was, I had such a great time and learned so much. I have to say that this entire conference was so impressive, packed with interesting talks and stimulating conversation. One thing I have written in my notes is “So many intelligent questions! Such great, respectful, sincere discussion and sharing.” I can’t wait for the next conference in 2019.

Below are the presentations that I got to see and some pictures. As part of the conference, we had tours of the White Hall State Historic Site, the Kentucky Equine Humane Center, and the Primate Rescue Center. It was all awesome! After the conference was over, Daniel and I took Monday to rent a car and see the Sheabel Pet Cemetery, the Hamburg Place Horse Cemetery, Man O’ War’s grave at the Kentucky Horse Park, and the Shaker village of Pleasant Hill, all in the Richmond/Lexington area. I’ll share pictures from all that on my photo journal, as soon as I have some time to process them!

Michal Piotr Pregowski Social Practices of Grief and Commemoration of Companion Animals across Cultures
Margo DeMello, Kenneth Shapiro, Susan McHugh & Robert W. Mitchell Society & Animals: Shaping and Reflecting Human-Animal Studies for 25 Years
John Byczynski I Ain’t No Rat: The Muskrat Manifesto
Andrea Buhle Footloose and Fancy Fleas: Fabled Facades or Factual Feats?

April D. Truitt U.S. Primate Sanctuaries: The Next 30 Years
Doug Slaymaker Imagining Animals to Represent Disaster: Japanese Fiction after Fukushima
Jonathan L. Clark A History of Roadkill
Karen Head Living the Promises
Jeanne Dubino Dogs in the Margins: Canine-Human Coexistence in Global Literacy Representations of Labor Camps, Village Life, and Extreme Poverty
Andrew Smyth Comics, Language, and (Baby)Sitting: Adam Hines’s Duncan the Wonder Dog and the Case of Clementine
Ann Marie Thornburg Walking With Dogs: Ethnographic Reflections on Everyday Movements
Jane Desmond “Real Doctors Treat More than One Species!” Charting the Divide between Clinical Veterinary Medicine and Human Medicine
Seth Josephson Media of Life and Danger: Bovine Serum and Human/Cattle Co-Emergence
Sara Waller Human Inferences Regarding Feline Inferences
Justyna Wlodarczyk Theorizing Resistance to Change in Dog Training since the 1980s
Bob Sandmeyer What in the World Does Coexistence with the Animal Mean?

Living With Animals, Days 1 & 2

Back in February of last year when I was giving my talk at the Annenberg Space for Photography, I met Julia Schlosser, who told me about the conference Living With Animals and its art component Seeing With Animals at Eastern Kentucky University. The conference is every two years, and March 22-26 I was in Richmond, KY for the third biennial conference on the theme of Co-Existence. I brought with me my regular conference companion Daniel Quay and we had such an excellent time getting to see the work of amazing artists, hear talks by incredibly intelligent thinkers, and meet such kind, interesting, talented people. The first two days of the conference, we attended sessions in the Seeing With Animals track, and I’d like to share the presentations that I got to see and some pictures. Next week, I’ll share images from the other two days of the conference and the field trips we got to go on!

Keri Cronin Looking Back: The Art of Early Animal Advocacy Campaigns
Julia Schlosser Explored Geographies: Companion Experiences
Carole Baker Where is Home? The Unpredictability of Life as a Cypriot Stray Dog
Mary-Jane Opie A Discussion on the Validity of Using a Companion Dog as a ‘Stand-In’ in Portraiture and as a Human Family Member
Debra Merskin Seeing the Dying Animal: Hollywood and the Hereafter
Mary Shannon Johnstone Landfill Dogs
Maria Lux Eat, Drink, and Be Merry: Unforeseen Consequences of Co-existence with Vultures, Fruit Bats, and Viruses
Linda Brant A Monument for Animals We Do Not Mourn
L.A. Watson Passed Lives: The Roadside Memorial Project
Kathryn Eddy The Urban/Wild Coyote Project
Mylène Ferrand The Contemporary Art Animal Repair

Brett Mizelle Killing in Jest, Dying in Earnest: Human-Squirrel Entanglements in Past and Present
Lee Deigaard Inviting Horses to Enter: Horses at the Museum
Lisa Strömbeck Hierarchy
Angela Bartram Collaborative Animals: Dogs and Humans as Co-Working Artists
Harriet Smith Post-Anthropocentric Interventions with Human and Nonhuman Animals
David Wood Thinking Like a Sand Crab
Viola Arduini The Human and the Other: Visual Technology between Science and Art
Doo-Sung Yoo Art Hybrids for Exploring Co-Existence between Humans and Animals Alongside Technology
Liz Bowen Spectacles of Dependency: Human-Animal Enfreakment in the Artwork of Sunaura Taylor
Tyler Lumm I Am Become
Alexandra Murphy Specere and the Photograph: Co-Existing in Perpetual States of Preservation
Tanja Böhme Bringing the Animal into Focus
Steve Baker The Disorderly Animal in Contemporary Art

Lecture at the Annenberg Space for Photography

Last month, I had the great opportunity to speak about my artwork and Muybridge’s Horse as part of the Iris Nights lecture series at the Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles. My talk, Seeing Animals, was streamed live on February 18, and edited into a video that’s available to view on the Annenberg Space for Photography’s website. You can view it here.

Thank you so much to the Annenberg Space for Photography for having me, to the kind and curious audience and those who approached me afterward with thoughtful questions, and to my family, friends, and followers who support me in the pictures I make and in the work I do with this beloved website of mine. This experience was one for the books.

Hiatus + Introducing MH Digest

Hiatus + Introducing MH Digest

I type this post from a temporary home in Colorado, taking a break from unpacking a moving truck that brought all my belongings from Kansas. Over the next few weeks or maybe months, I’ll be between the Mountain West and the Northwest, attempting to secure a life in the Portland area. I’ll have limited access to the internet and an unpredictable schedule, so although there might be some guests posts during this time, I won’t be posting on MH regularly. Hopefully, things will be back to normal here by the fall. In the mean time, you can stay connected by following the Tumblr account I’ve set up for MH.

MH Digest will be updated twice weekly or so with images on the MH theme. There’s currently a queue of posts with a few images from each MH post over the past two and a half years. Intermixed and beyond that will be new content: reblogs of great animal/nature photography, art I see and love on the fly, a few images when a whole post of ten wouldn’t make sense on MH. There’s also a way to submit!

Even beyond this hiatus, I think the Tumblr blog will be a great digest-style companion to the site. I hope you follow along.

Life Framer Photography Competition: “Animal Kingdom”

Life Framer Photography Competition: “Animal Kingdom”

The Life Framer photography competition has been on my radar for some time, but its March theme, “Animal Kingdom,” judged by Robin Schwartz, really caught my attention. The competition is broken down into twelve themes, one per month, each judged by a different internationally acclaimed photographer or curator. Judges provide critique of their favorite images, giving artists valuable feedback from a top professional. At the heart of the award are curated exhibitions; the 24 winning and runner-up photographs and a hand-picked selection of honorary mentions are displayed at galleries in Paris, London, and Los Angeles. From Life Framer’s website: “In less than two years Life Framer has become a world-renowned platform for discovering and exhibiting contemporary photography from talented emerging photographers across the world. It is an independent photography competition of artistic integrity that promotes and champions creative culture on and offline.”

Life Framer’s site also features a Collection section, a curated space for which all competition entrants are considered regardless of whether or not they are shortlisted, as if there isn’t enough great photography to see on the themes’ pages of winners. I appreciate the sleek design and layout of the site, as well as the ease and simplicity of the submission process. This month’s theme, “An Instant,” is judged by Matt Eich. Submit now through the end of the month, and keep an eye out for the competition’s next five themes on Life Framer’s website or social media.

When exhibitions and competitions have an animal theme, I’m always excited, both to submit and to see a collection of photography about a subject I love. An image of mine was shortlisted alongside those of some great image-makers, and I’m looking to looking at more work by the winning artists.