From a Pet Store
Jayne Hinds Bidaut’s Animalerie
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.