“…we put forward the hypothesis of a death-instinct, the task of which is to lead organic life back to the inanimate state” – Sigmund Freud
Upon viewing these dogs, they appear to be alive in as much as the photograph represents them this way. However, in taking a closer look, one realises that these noble creatures are in fact, inert behind museum glass - taxidermy specimens on display as part of a unique Natural History Museum collection at Tring.
These portraits form part of my research into psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud's most controversial metapsychology - that of the death-drive. Through these specimens I hypothesise and explore the possibility that in photographing the taxidermy specimen, the photograph defies its own metaphorical demise. Upon closer inspection of these portraits, one notices reflections and scratches in the display glass, questioning the authenticity of what is seen and the relationship between the taxidermy specimen and the photograph's representation of it.
The photographs are presented as canvas prints displayed in 'swept' frames of various sizes, emulating those remote and noble portraits found in national galleries or on the wall of a Victorian salon.