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Joel Conison

Artist Statement Submitted 2014

This group of photographs captures the natural beauty of birds in an unnatural environment.
A chance encounter with one of the curators of the Fernbank Natural History Museum provided me with access to a number of taxidermy specimens. Most notably the beautiful and somewhat mysterious remains of preserved birds.
As much as I was excited about the possibility to incorporate these animals into my work I was a bit intimidated as well. On one hand the taxidermic creatures allowed me to work with, to approach, to handle them in a way that living creatures would not have tolerated. On the other, the process of taxidermy, by definition, had removed the very essence of their fleeting existence. Without a doubt they had become objects and yet there remained something elusive. I realized that as a photographer I couldn’t treat them as I would have treated wild birds in nature. Indeed I didn’t want to treat them as birds at all but rather in terms of a statement on the human interaction with n

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