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Unnatural History & Specimens, 2004 - 2012

Unnatural History draws upon the historic origins of the cyanotype process to create pseudo-scientific illustrations of hybrid creatures that explore the relationships between science, nature, humanity, and technology. While the blue color of cyanotypes is most often associated with architectural plans, one of the earliest uses of the antique photographic process was for scientific illustration. Anna Atkins, one of the first women photographers, used the cyanotype process to record botanical specimens and published British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions in 1843. It was the first book to make use of photographic illustration and it is a beautiful synthesis of science and art. Specimens evolved from the Unnatural History series. The images in Specimens are digital photomontages consisting of insects and other small creatures embellished with vintage costume jewelry fittings. By incorporating the frames and backgrounds of antique photographs, the surrealistic creatures appear to be suspended in 19th daguerreotypes. In order to further articulate their connection to historic photographic processes they are printed onto metal plates.