PHOTOWORKS by KATE BREAKEY
SOUTHWESTERN & MEXICAN PHOTOGRAPHY COLLECTION
I began this series late in 1995, when having attempted to rescue a bird from a more violent death, it died quietly in the palm of my hand. I am always affected by the power of this moment, witnessing the last breath, the final heart-beat, my own quiet dismay. But then I m fascinated by what is left--a tiny body to scrutinize--all the beautiful details. It seems also as if in this examination of the remains, I might comprehend what that life was, and therefore also what death is.My work contains this desire to understand but it also becomes my attempt to memorialize these individual creatures as little representatives of all the lives and deaths that we disregard. I tenderly record the beautiful bodies now in transition towards disintegration and decomposition.I wish to give these creatures dignity and I hope their images, much "larger than life", give them a power and a presence they never had. Because of their scale the bird portraits take on an eerie resemblance to people, the skulls look like dinasours, the lizards become like human figures. In a room full of giant corpses, the images of withered flowers become like flowers at a funeral. The sensual beauty of wrinkled, faded petals a gentler reminder of our own mortality.My friends and their friends give me small dead things as gifts. It is because they know that I will try to give them life.—KATE BREAKEY—
Photoworks features forty 42" x 42" hand-colored black-and-white silver gelatin prints.