Natural History is a series of completely candid, single exposure images which merge the living and the dead, creating allegorical narratives of our troubled co-existence with nature. Ghost-like reflections of modern visitors viewing wildlife dioramas are juxtaposed against the preserved subjects themselves. During the summer of my ninth and tenth years, my mother, in lieu of hiring a babysitter, kept me captive in our hometown Natural History Museum where she was volunteer curator. I spent very long, solitary weeks communing with the museum’s animals, both living and dead, as well as operating the manual elevator for employees and rummaging through the museum’s disheveled collection of mite riddled, century old periodicals and books. In 2008, during a long anticipated visit to the American Museum of Natural History in New York, I accidentally created an intriguing image while “snapshotting” their dioramas. A reflection of my husband, inadvertently rendered in the glass and framed behind a large ostrich, gave me pause. A few months later, I began to frequent diorama exhibits around the country furtively aiming at capturing these narratives. It is both exhilarating and humbling to be the catalyst for these truly alchemical images which are set against a century old stage and born of random timing and fractured light. Every image is like solving a mystery that I didn’t know existed.
Traer Scott is an award winning fine art and commercial photographer and author of six books. Her work has been featured in National Geographic, Life, Vogue, People, O and dozens of other national and international publications as well as the New York Times Lens Blog and BEHOLD. She was the recipient of the Rhode Island State Council for the Arts Photography Fellowship Grant and the Helen Woodward Humane Award for animal welfare activism. Recent exhibitions of her work have been held in Shanghai, the Netherlands, London and at Blue Sky Gallery in Portland, Oregon. Traer lives in Providence, Rhode Island with her husband, daughter and pit bull.