Denis Defibaugh: Afterlives of Natural History

May 13 - July 19, 2015

Denis Defibaugh specializes in exploring and photographing world cultures. His work has been featured in over 25 solo exhibitions. He is currently working on projects in Cuba, Croatia, Mexico and Zion National Park that explore the culture and history of those regions. The recipient of several prizes and grants Defibaugh has also had his photogaphs compiled and published in the book The Day of the Dead, Dia de los Muertos on TCU Press. Definbaugh is a tenured professor at Rochester Institute of Technology where he has been teaching since 1987 where he has lead annual courses to Cuba, Mexico, Croatia and Zion National Park.

Afterlives of Natural History is a new body of work that focuses on ideas of preservation and deterioration through the exploration of natural history museums and photographic processes:

"Natural history museums are great depositories of what was once natural and alive. I am interested in the aesthetic and taxonomy of these specimens. It is ironic that the transformation of a once living creature to its death and eventual preservation in a classified state combines aspects of art and science.

The fragile and delicate nature of preservation of each natural specimen is wrought with contradiction. The dichotomy of preservation with the inevitable deterioration of these collections is the core of my photographic exploration. The organic quality of skin, scales and feathers suggests a limited existence of these extinct species. The film that I use is obsolete and no longer manufactured. Being unprocessed following exposure it is in constant oxidation and will eventually become a black sheet of film.

The use of this unprocessed Polaroid film to photograph the rare and sometimes extinct specimen suggests a unity with the object. These prints are made during the negatives deterioration process. The duality of preservation and decay is at the crux of these photographs. They are a fading memory, as are the extinct species in the photographs."

- Denis Defibaugh

Fore more information visit: http://denisdefibaughphotography.com/

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