The Animals are Outside Today

Photography by Colleen Plumb: Mold-A-Rama Dinosaur with Ruth

Photography by Colleen Plumb: Sleeping Lion

Photography by Colleen Plumb: Daniel’s Lions

Photography by Colleen Plumb: Horseback

Photography by Colleen Plumb: Amish Horses

Photography by Colleen Plumb: Circus Elephant

Photography by Colleen Plumb: Nungesser Elephant

Photography by Colleen Plumb: Bird Hat

The Animals are Outside Today

Photography by: Colleen Plumb, Chicago

Animals are Outside Today is a fascinating collection of photographs by the Chicago photographer Colleen Plumb. Plumb’s work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Contemporary Photography; the Notebaert Nature Museum, Chicago; and the Beijing Natural Cultural Center in China. Her photographs are part of the Midwest Photographers Project at the Museum of Contemporary Photography and the Chicago Project at Catherine Edelman Gallery. Recent exhibitions have included shows at the Jen Bekman Gallery in New York City; group shows at Santa Monica Art Studios, California; Humble Arts Foundation, New York City; Zolla/Lieberman Gallery, Chicago; Chicago Cultural Center; and the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington D.C.

Plumb describes Animals Are Outside Today as a visual journey offering us the chance to contemplate our intersections with animals and to consider the multi-layered impact that humans have on other living beings. According to Plumb, “Contradictions define our relationships with animals. We love and admire them; we are entertained and fascinated by them; we take our children to watch and learn about them. Animals are embedded within core human history, evident in our stories, rituals and symbols. At the same time, we eat, wear and cage them with seeming indifference, consuming them, and their images, in countless ways.”

Our relationships with animals today are often developed through assimilation and appropriation; we absorb them into our lives, yet no longer know of their origin. Most people are cut off from the steps involved in their processing or acquisition, shielded from witnessing their death or decay. This series of photographs moves within and between these contradictions, questioning whether the notion of the sacred and primal connection to Nature that animals convey and inspire will survive alongside our evolution.

Who Does She Think She Is?

Photo-Gallery: The Animals are Outside Today

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Mrs. Peppercorn’s Magical Reading Room

Mrs. Peppercorn’s Magical Reading Room

Mrs. Peppercorn’s Magical Reading Room is a gorgeous 24-minute family-friendly fantasy short film by British filmmaker Mike Le Han, which is rapidly acquiring a cult following in the U.K. and further afield.

Softly-spoken, with an unfashionable English Midlands accent, and wearing 1970s-style chest-length hair, Le Han looks like everybody’s idea of a hard-working rock band roadie. His style may appear retro, but he is clearly a very persuasive man since everyone involved in Mrs. Peppercorn donated their services. This left the production costs coming in at a miserly $50,500, all raised by family and friends. Remarkably, Mrs. Peppercorn’s Magical Reading Room boasts the kind of performances and production values normally found in a big-budget blockbuster.

The film is both magical and mysterious, and from the opening frame it creates a dark world where things go bump in the night and mystery lies around every corner. Mrs. Peppercorn tells of a lonely child who is forced to move by her adopted parents to a remote and spooky Cornish fishing village in the dead of winter. The story is rich in atmospherics in the way it shows how the child finds solace in a mysterious, dust-encrusted bookshop that satisfies her craving for reading and, more important, gives her a sense of belonging.

Mrs. Peppercorn’s Magical Reading Room

(Best Viewed in HD Full-Screen Mode)

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