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May 2005
Portraits From a Pet Store

Jayne Hinds Bidaut’s Animalerie

 

Animaleria
Kitten $55.
Animaleria
Lacerta $6.

Impersonal steel cages, smudged and soiled tanks, and murky aquarium waters: Jayne Hinds Bidaut finds “a world between worlds” for pet store animals in her breath-taking photo journal. Animalerie, French for “animal shop,” compiles American photographer Bidaut’s three-year exploration of the pet stores of Europe and North America. From pinkies and fuzzies (mice) grooming each others’ fur to wide-eyed fish swimming in beat with filtration systems, Bidaut’s black and white photographs find the private beauty in the animals’ altered and unnatural daily rituals.

Bidaut captures each personality—a lizard looking down from the ‘security’ of her concrete perch, birds in a pair, beaks lightly touching with evident affection—in a hazy image reminiscent of the photographs of 19th century naturalists. The underlying theme of oppression is portrayed succinctly with the only text accompanying the images—a price tag. Kitten $55. Cardinal Fish $27.99. Breeder Rat $2.99. Serene yet disturbing portraits of exotic reptiles, robbed of their natural habitat, denied the space to roam; fragile fish, meant to live freely in spacious waters, swimming in endless circles; captive birds, born to fly and going crazy from confinement—induce an indescribable breadth of emotions.

The portraits in Animalerie quietly blur the lines between art and ethical commentary.—K.A.M.

Animalerie by Jayne Hinds Bidaut is available in hardcover from the University of Texas Press for $60. 192 pages. 90 black and white photos.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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