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Artist Statement


Animals Are Outside Today

I began this project looking at "fake nature," wondering what substitutions for nature can satisfy in people. Looking deeper, I began photographing live/real animals and how they can be a link for us to a world far from the reality and pace of contemporary life, as well as provide an intangible link to a deeper world of instinct and rawness. This series of photographs examines the essence of our connection to, as well as our fragmentation from, the natural. I am interested in the increasing disconnection that exists between humans and the natural world. The work explores simulation, consumption, destruction and reconstruction, as well as notions of endurance and the reality of loss. Growing up in Chicago gave me an urban childhood: running through gangways and exploring alleys with my friends, something more and more kids today don't experience. Early on, seeds for my interest in nature were planted through lots of outside play, camping trips and odd pets (our duck, named Sir Francis Drake, for example). I am sure these beginnings influence and inspire my work. With this series I seek to understand how the human connection to the rest of nature is often developed through assimilation and appropriation. I hope this work will incite contemplation about the lives of animals and generate dialogue about resource usage.


Colleen Plumb | See All Editions


Born and raised in Chicago in 1970, Colleen Plumb worked as a graphic designer for several years before switching gears to pursue a degree in photography at Columbia College Chicago (1999). Plumb makes photographs about the human-animal relationship in contemporary society, examining the multilayered impact humans have on other living beings. Her work is held in several collections, including the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, the Milwaukee Art Museum, the Southeast Museum of Photography in Daytona Beach, Florida, and Fidelity Investments in Boston. Her photographs are part of the Midwest Photographers Project at the Museum of Contemporary Photography and the Chicago Project at Catherine Edelman Gallery and are featured in Photo-Eye's Photographer's Showcase. Plumb's photographs have been exhibited in many one-person and group exhibitions, and have appeared in PDN and HotShoe International, among other publications. She currently teaches in the Photography Department at Columbia College Chicago. Plumb's first monograph is titled Animals Are Outside Today, published by Radius Books (2011).