Jen Bekman Photographer of the Month: Colleen Plumb


Image credit: Circus by Colleen Plumb

Twice a month, Sara Distin from Jen Bekman Projects, Inc. contributes a post to Flavorwire about an artist or photographer. Jen Bekman Projects, Inc. includes Jen Bekman Gallery, 20×200 and Hey, Hot Shot!.

I haven’t been able to touch bacon since Michael Pollan revealed what happens to pigs and their corkscrew tails on CAFOs. I should have known better and become a vegetarian before I became a foodie, but I didn’t. Now I suffer irrepressible guilt for even craving salty, fatty slivers of swine. Colleen Plumb’s photograph, Pigs, makes me feel even worse.

Her series Animals Are Outside Today brings you this close to animals stuffed, strung, fenced, flying, rotting, leaping, and barely breathing, affirming our perverse relationship to other living things; when animals and humans meet, it’s usually to the detriment of the former. We are mostly oblivious and uncaring to that fact.

It might be because, as Plumb points out, we are disconnected from the natural world in general — isolated in urban environments, stifling instinct with intellectualism. Plumb’s photographs are alternately soft and dreamy, crisp and cold, engaging both the heart and the brain, and mimicking the natural cycle of attachment and detachment we have with our two- and four-legged friends. Funny and tragic, they acknowledge that these encounters are increasingly rare and diluted in spite of best intentions.

Over the last few months, we’ve spent a lot of time looking at Colleen’s work at JBP HQ. She was a Hot Shot last year; and we’ve featured several of her works on 20×200 — her editions have been eagerly collected. Plumb’s works will be on view at Denver’s van Straaten Gallery starting Thursday, May 14. If you’re not in Denver, I have a perfect pairing of Plumb and Whitman for you instead, courtesy of Ms. Jen B.

– Sara Distin