If you grew up in an American suburb, surrounded by sprawling subdivisions on one side and pockets of rarely trekked forest on the other, you can't help but feel a twinge of nostalgia looking at photographer Amy Stein's work. Her portraits of human-animal interactions perfectly capture the exhilaration you might have felt when, in the midst of your neatly kept neighborhood, you became face-to-face with a little piece of the wild.
Stein's images, collected together in a series and book titled "Domesticated," are based on real stories of such contact with the other side, told to the artist by residents of a small town in Northeast Pennsylvania called Matamoras. Stein takes each story and reconstructs the encounter into a staged portrait, using her interest in taxidermy to create what appear like candid shots. Though the animals are not alive, the resulting vignettes show the mystifying relationship between man and the natural world.
In an e-mail to The Huffington Post, Stein described her series as follows: "Within these scenes I explore our paradoxical relationship with the 'wild' and how our conflicting impulses continue to evolve and alter the behavior of both humans and animals. We at once seek connection with the mystery and freedom of the natural world, yet we continually strive to tame the wild around us and compulsively control the wild within our own nature."
Check out more images of Stein's "Domesticated" series below. You can see more of her work in her upcoming book "Tall Poppy Syndrome."
“We pulled to the side of the road and he was frozen in the lights, just as they say deer do…”
“It was the hottest day of the summer and I was learning to do flips off the diving board. As the day was ending I saw him staring at me next to the fence. My mom always said to stay still if I saw a bear.”
“It’s green and warm in here, so I think he thought it was the forest floor.”
“It was the coldest day of the year and the drive-thru line was really long. While we waited I could see the seagulls fighting over some french fries left in the parking lot. I laughed because seagulls make me think of the beach.”
“On my morning walk I saw the bird caught in the soccer net. He was just suspended there, fixed in a permanent flight.”
“They always come in the summer. I can set my watch to it. At dusk you hear the clang of the cans and in the morning the trash is spread all over the lawn.”
“I grew tired of planting azaleas only to find my garden ruined the next morning. I tried humane traps, but the rabbits were too smart. Finally, I asked a neighbor and she gave me some poison from her garage.”
“That morning I just got lucky.”
“The coyote walked straight up to light and began to yip and howl. He stayed there for a couple of minutes and then moved on to the next light in the parking light and howled again. He moved on to two more lights and then ran into the woods behind the store.”
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