A Habit of Deciding Influence: Pigeons from Charles Darwin’s Breeding Experiments

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As an artist-in-residence at the Natural History Museum in London in 2003, I photographed “skins” and “skulls” from Darwin’s personal collection of pigeon specimens. Later, the “skins” were digitally collaged on backgrounds created from microscopic scans of laboratory cotton. The finished photographic works were printed in pigmented ink on watercolor paper. The intention was to recall atmospheres in 19th century paintings by J. M. W. Turner and others. The “skulls” were visually isolated in dramatic settings to recall artworks in the tradition of the Memento mori.