Wednesday, October 14

What Would PETA do?

I have been following the work of Nathalia Edenmont for several years.  As a photographer, she creates haunting still life images and beautiful portraits of animals.  She has caused a ruckus among animal rights activists who believe her animal cruelty, or murder, should come to an end.  Others, claiming the animals are already dead when she approaches them and merely manipulates them until they appear as they do in the photographs, support her or do not care enough to raise hell.

I am interested in her work purely from an aesthetic perspective and, strangely enough, have no problem with her exploitation, according to some, of these animals.  I hate rodents.  As for the rabbits, cats, chickens and butterflies, well, Edenmont makes stunning photographs with them.  I suppose see them as materials rather than victims.  Her work fascinates me, rather than disgusting me.

Of course, the true answer to the question of whether or not the animals truly are dead before she comes to put them into her artwork is an important one.  Yet, I find myself less and less concerned with that idea and more taken with her new work.  Besides, it seems obvious to me that her act of killing the subjects of her photographs is simply part of each piece.  Shock does bring attention and attention, whether negative or positive does bring fame.  So clearly, in that respect, whatever Edenmont does is working, in terms of her career and fame.

So famous, in fact that PETA did write her representative gallery a strongly worded letter.  They seem to think the Edenmont is mentally unsound.  I hate that I have to stand up for the artistic community but does PETA's Casework Division Manager realize that many, if not all, artists and creative people suffer from some of morbid anxiety (the despair that gives an artist the will and lust for creation) and without it we simply would not create?  Their effort is a pitiful one, in my mind.  But, then again, I have never been able to take PETA seriously.


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