Why Look at Animals? at the Clay Center

Why Look at Animals? examines the ways animals have been represented photographically over time, from the romantic pastoral images of P.H. Emerson, to the sardonic and edgy metaphors of John Heartfield, to the scientific documents of Eadweard Muybridge and Harold Edgerton.

The exhibition showcases both familiar and unfamiliar selections from the George Eastman House collection and also explores the variety of ways in which photographs work, using images of animals to demonstrate taxonomy, formal aesthetic, humor, sentiment, and aide memoire.

Highlights of this survey exhibition include early zoo photographs by Count de Montizon, an Edward Steichen portrait of famed herpetologist Raymond Ditmars with snake, and a number of poignant images by Robert Doisneau.

Contemporary images include Barbara Norfleet’s series Manscape With Beasts, John Divola’s Dogs Chasing My Car in the Desert, Richard Ross’s evocative treatment of natural history collections, and a beloved Weimaraner of William Wegman.

Why Look at Animals? will run at the Clay Center from January 14 through April 7. This exhibit is organized by the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film, Rochester, NY.