Borrowed: Jenna Faden’s Beth

Beth the Alpaca

I first came across Jenna Faden’s work through a postcard advertising her upcoming senior thesis show. The card made me smile, widely. Maybe my enhanced joy was because of my previous encounter with Wookie, but I think you’ll agree that Jenna’s treatment of alpaca photography stands on its own on a whole new level.

She writes:

The concept of the alpaca portraits has varied the more I have progressed with this work. It began as just a genuine interest in the animals; the photographs were kind of a record of the time I spent at the farm observing them. They are, to me at least, very unusual animals, and I think I was drawn to the contrast of their dull life paired with this strange look. I guess I have always wanted them to be more exciting than they really are, and after days and weeks and months of staring at them, I realized their life will never be more than just grazing. I’ve worked with these animals for a while now, always trying to place them in an environment that is not their own to finally give myself what I want from them. For this portrait project, however, I finally stuck them in their own home, doing very little editing. Again, at first, they were just straight on portraits of these animals, the intrigue of the picture beginning with the homeliness of them. After staring at these photographs for a while, they began to produce a meaning I had not originally intended but one that I am happy with. In all the pictures, the alpacas are making eye contact with the viewer. They are posed in this unidentified land, and with the combination of the saturated colors and the unwavering gaze, the viewers become the subject of this project. The animals are inquiring to us about the state of the environment, the way we as humans treat the earth. They are posed almost defensively infront of their home, something a lot of people take for granted. This project will be shown in a way that will aid the concept; the prints themselves are about 24″ x 37″, and they will be hung in a small cubicle-like space, so the viewer is forced to step into their space and interact with the inquisitive animals. Really, they are not even alpacas to me anymore, just a face for the message of the photographs.

Visit Jenna’s website.

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One Comment

  1. Posted December 8, 2008 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    HA! I Love these! I think I’ll head out to the opening tonight. Thanks for the tip mike.

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