MARITIMUS ORIENTAL

"The beauty and genius of a work of art may be re-conceived, though its first material expression bedestroyed; a vanished harmony may yet again inspire the composer; but when the last individual of a race of living beings breathes no more, another heaven and another earth must pass before such a one can be again." William Beebe. (American naturalist, ornithologist, marine biologist)-

The Subject.

Photography still life series of marine specimens that were identified, jarred and labelled in the mid 20th Century, from the 1930's through to the late 1970's in Nha Trang, Vietnam. They constitute part of the collection of the Nha Trang Oceanographic museum, and are partly on display to the public (albeit from behind a cordon)


Why this series?

These dusty and aging bottles & tanks containing marine specimens from oceans and seas of a different time and era fascinate me for a multitude of reasons; my already established interest in the natural world, natural history, marine biology, and my attraction to the aesthetics & fundamentals of form. Photographing these 'forms within forms' does result I think already in a highly decorative collection of imagery, but it is the aura of antiquity and glimpses into the past they offer that makes the series even more compelling.

Added to this, a look at the optical aspects of glass and how over time, living matter, no matter how carefully embalmed or preserved changes and takes on almost another form altogether.

Methodology!

I had to work immediately, there in situ, with no pretense of additional lighting. I felt an immediate need to photograph these glass repositories, which while having languished for decades on dusty shelves, and all having a distinctly neglected look, I felt for some bizarre reason, as with the delicate nature of glass, they could be gone if I waited another day. (The fragility/impermanence & durability of glass too that are themes represented in this series). Additional unknowns like officialdom or internal decisions to replace or even remove the collection added to my sense of urgency.

The work is therefore a spontaneous look at these Darwinian sculptures, captured by the camera in an honest and direct way, unfettered by enhanced lighting techniques or retouching tricks.

Still Life- Maritimus Oriental
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