The Kiernan Gallery is very pleased to have Anne Berry as our juror for Creatures. We have asked her a few questions about her work and her passion for animals:
As a 2012 Critical Mass top 50 finalist, your series Behind Glass has gained a lot of recognition. How will your personal work influence your role as juror for Creatures?
I am very excited to have the opportunity to juror the entries to the Creatures exhibit! This subject is my passion, and I love to look at the work of other photographers. Consequently, I have seen a lot of animal photography in many styles. This factor might influence my role as juror as could my appreciation for the challenges involved in photographing animals, domestic or wild, in their natural habitat or in environments created by humans.
Much of your work is focused on animals, particularly their anthropomorphic qualities. What drew you to the apes? How did they become your chosen subject matter and what are you hoping to convey by using an animal as subject?
While working on my Menagerie project, which focuses on animals in antiquated European zoos, I became fascinated with the interaction between the primates and people in monkey houses. Primates are most able to remind people of the connection between man and animal, and the glass windows function as framing devices and also work as a metaphor for the separation between man and nature. Whatever animals I am photographing, I like to establish a connection and attempt to convey this relationship and also something of the spirit of the animal.
Tell us more about your non-profit causes and how you use photography to support them.
I assist animal non-profits in three ways: by making photo books for them to use as they wish, by licensing images at no cost, and by producing awareness-raising gallery exhibits and blog essays. The fine art book of Behind Glass will benefit a primate sanctuary. I am currently looking for this partnership, and I am always interested in discovering non-profit organizations interested in taking advantage of a collaboration in which photography can assist animals.
Lastly, we ask this of all of our artists, how do you define success in art?
I feel successful and lucky that I am able to live the life of an artist. This gift comes with a responsibility to produce work that is meaningful and pure. The practice of photographing and the art produced are connected in a mysterious way. I often experience an unexplainable, magical connection with an animal, and the resulting photograph echoes the encounter. It is difficult to explain, and not everyone will see it, but it is this quality of mystery that for me makes a successful photograph.