Henry Beston stated the following in his book, The Outermost House, in 1928: “They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendor and travail of the earth.” Animals Are Outside Today is a journey examining underneath this net, offering us the chance to contemplate our intersections with animals and consider the multi-layered impact humans have on other living beings.
Contradictions define our relationships with animals. We love and admire them; we are entertained and fascinated by them; we take our children to watch and learn about them. Animals are embedded within core human history—evident in our stories, rituals and symbols. At the same time, we eat, wear and cage them with seeming indifference, consuming them in countless ways.
Our connection to animals today is often developed through assimilation and appropriation; we absorb them into our lives, yet we no longer know of their origin. Most people are cut off from the steps involved in their processing or acquisition, shielded from witnessing their death or decay. This book moves within these contradictions, always questioning if the notion of sacred will survive alongside our evolution.
About the Artist
Colleen Plumb is an award-winning photographer whose work is held in several photography collections including the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, Milwaukee Art Museum, the Southeast Museum of Photography in Daytona Beach, Florida, Fidelity Investments, in Boston and Beijing Natural Cultural Center, China. Her photographs have been exhibited nationwide in many one person and group exhibits, and have been widely showcased in books and publications such as PDN and Hotshoe International. Plumb currently teaches in the Photography Department at Columbia College Chicago.
About the Writer
Lisa Hostetler is the curator of photographs at the Milwaukee Art Museum. She received her BA in Art History from New York University and holds a PhD in the History of Art from Princeton University. She came to Milwaukee in April of 2005 after four years in the Department of Photographs at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Her current projects include Street Seen: The Psychological Gesture in Photography, 1940-1959, an in-depth study of the subjective edge that emerged in American art of the World-War-II and postwar era through the work of six key photographers—Lisette Model, Louis Faurer, Ted Croner, Saul Leiter, William Klein, and Robert Frank.