The dignity and gravitas of zoo animals
December 15, 2010 12:07 PM   Subscribe

Menagerie is a an exhibition of black-and-white portraits of of zoo animals by Anne Berry. Ms. Berry uncovers a deep gravitas in her animal subjects hauntingly reminiscent of Civil War daugeurrotypes (like this rhinocerous) or the breezier portraits of Margaret Cameron (like this deer). (Whatever you do, don't miss the gorilla.)
posted by Faze (10 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Beautiful pictures.

(But I'll admit my bias right now - I really like zoos.)
posted by SkylitDrawl at 12:13 PM on December 15, 2010

posted by stevil at 12:18 PM on December 15, 2010

I think that there deer is a kangaroo.
posted by little cow make small moo at 12:26 PM on December 15, 2010 [3 favorites]

The gravitas of blur vignette.
posted by clarknova at 12:37 PM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

That vignette business is just distracting, to my eye, rather than adding anything to the images. To each their own, I suppose.
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:43 PM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

The orangutan certainly has Bergmanesque quality.
posted by Kafkaesque at 1:18 PM on December 15, 2010

Yeah that's the point. Phony vignette sucks. Unless your camera or the situational lighting naturally produces it there's almost never a good reason for the photo to have it.

This is even worse because It's a ham-handed fake of two effects: vignette and bokeh. And it's the same cookie cutter shopchop every time.

Which is a shame because I like some of the shots without it.
posted by clarknova at 1:19 PM on December 15, 2010

Some of these are very nice, but I agree that the vignetting is overdone. little cow is right - the 'deer' is definitely a kangaroo.
posted by wadefranklin at 2:17 PM on December 15, 2010

If the gravitas is a bit heavy, try the cheeky apartment menagerie, animals photographed in front of lively wallpapered walls, by Catherine Ledner.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:54 PM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

I wonder if instead of some digital vignette-trick, this photographer perhaps used some kind of archaic equipment. No time to research this now for specifics, but I remember reading that there's a veritable cult of using old, optically compromised cameras for effects very much like this one.

In any case, to my taste this is a technicality (not my favorite one, having spent months in the darkroom trying to make my black and white prints ever so perfectly crystal-sharp-what-have-you-notty, but that's not my point), whereas the "gravitas" has to do with the choice of subject and the expressiveness of the same. That vaguely smiling Orangutan is my special favorite (can't retrieve a separate link).
posted by Namlit at 5:48 PM on December 15, 2010

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