Monika Malewska
This series of color photographs presents a number of stuffed animals displayed individually and in small groups.  At first glance, the animals look real and animated. Only the artificial base to which their feet are attached shatters the illusion that they are still alive.  Photographing these stuffed animals in nature is intended to underscore the inherent absurdity of presenting dead animals as if they were still alive.

Occasionally, more than one animal appears in the same photograph.  The group “interaction” between these animals becomes even more dynamic and outlandish after one realizes that all of them have been stuffed.  In the face of that realization, the viewer is encouraged to question the authenticity of the picturesque environment where the animals have been placed.

These forest animal images are presented as still lives, corresponding to the literal translation from the French natura morte, meaning “dead nature.”  Despite their lively appearance, these animals are essentially inanimate objects that have been precisely positioned for the camera’s gaze.  Unlike conventional nature photography, which often draws upon the camera’s ability to render still those objects in nature that are typically in motion, these photographs “freeze” what is already no longer capable of movement. These motionless animals--returned to nature and photographed as still lives--remind us of the illusory nature of photography as well as the human obsession with verisimilitude. 
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