Watch the 591 exhibition Anne Berry - Selected Work (30 pictures)
BIO: I grew up in Atlanta, spending vacations and summers at Lake Burton, on the Flint River in Sumter Co., and on Georgia and South Carolina barrier islands. The appreciation for places unspoiled by development is central to my vision. Also essential to me is an appreciation for animals. I photograph animals to get people to truly look at them, to hear their inner sound, and to consider their value and their place in the world.
|"Nola" from the Behind Glass series|
BEHIND GLASS refers both to the glass or boundaries of an enclosure and to the glass of the camera lens. Often I find myself gazing into the eyes of a monkey, his hand touching the glass wall that separates our worlds. The animal’s candid stare, the reflection of glass, and the frame of a window are all elements that speak to issues of nature and captivity. My photographs are about the beauty of animals but, more importantly, about their plight. The pictorial quality of these images softens the shock, but the punch is there in the eyes and melancholy expressions of the animals. Primates especially are able to remind people of the undeniable connection between man and animal, and this feeling evokes a memory of a time when man was part of nature. Sometimes I feel like Tennyson’s Lady of Shalott, watching a separate world through a glass lens, creating but not participating. I, too, am “half sick of shadows;” I feel a responsibility to take part, to contribute. These photographs should be a voice for the animals. I assist animal non-profits in three ways: by making photo books for them to use as they wish, by licensing images at no cost, and by producing awareness raising gallery exhibits and blog essays.
|"Elephant" from the Menagerie series|
MENAGERIE: Two passions in my life inspire the photographs in my Menagerie series: animals and literature. I studied art, literature, and horseback riding at Sweet Briar College and earned a Masters degree in literature from the University of Georgia while also studying photography and horse science. I do not live on a farm or ride horses now, so instead I create my own menagerie of animal photographs. When I photograph animals I use the patience and understanding of animal behavior that I developed studying horseback riding and animal science. I want people to feel empathy for animals, and I attempt to draw the viewer into the image with a quality of mystery, what the French pictorial photographer Robert Demachy describes as “something all important, extremely difficult to express in words. If you can see it there is no use in trying to describe it. If you do not it is useless also, for you would not understand” (On the Straight Print)
Besides the feelings I have for the animals themselves, the inspirations for my photographs come from literature. For example, three romantic values are central to my vision: worship of nature, reliance on imagination rather than reason, and the idea of a realm that transcends the physical. John Keats voices in a poem what I consider an essential aspect of my photography: “Heard melodies are sweet but those unheard/Are sweeter” (Ode on a Grecian Urn)
Another concept that is central to my vision is T. S. Eliot’s metaphor of the Wasteland. The idea of the city as a place where people wander as shadows, having lost touch with nature and myth is key; it’s the other side of what I portray in my photographs. Van Gogh said, “there is no blue without yellow and without orange;” everything has an opposite, and the unstated is often more important than what is said. Animals remind the viewer that there is a natural world, and they provoke feelings of nostalgia for a green environment where humans and animals are connected.
|"Donkey on Oak Road" from the Beast Fables series|
|"Palomino" from the EOH (Equine) series|
EOH (Equine): Wassily Kandinsky teaches that the artist has the ability to “realize the inner sound of things.” I listen for this sound when I photograph animals. People have lost an essential connection to the land and to animals. I photograph animals to remind the viewer of this bond. Because it exists so prominently in art, myth, and history, the horse more than any other animal has the power to stir memories of this important relationship. The horses and donkeys in this series are in rural settings or roam freely as feral animals. The connection between the horse and the land is clear, and also evident is the animal/human relationship. Even if the horse is not gazing directly at the camera it is aware of the photographer. Capturing these images requires patience and understanding. I am close to the horse physically, and I have established a connection with it. I hope by looking at these images the viewer will hear the inner melody of the horse. These lyrics ask the viewer to consider the animal’s place in the world, to do as Franz Marc instructs, to “contemplate the soul of the animal to divine its way of sight.”
ABOUT the photographer:
Lives in: Newnan, GA, USA
Latest exhibition: At The Zoo, Dakota Blue: Anne Berry photographs from Zoo Atlanta
Coming, planned exhibition: 7 Photographers: Atlanta Intl. Airport, Atrium, 10/1/2011
Inspiration (photographers): Keith Carter, Robert Demachy, Edward Steichen
Inspiration (other): Vincent Van Gogh, TS Eliot, John Keats
Film, digital or both: both, and some alt. process
Website: www.anneberrystudio.com BLOG: www.anneberrymenagerie.com
All photos © Anne Berry