Raccoon Skull with Ironweed

Raccoon Skull with Ironweed

A few weeks ago — well, exactly one month ago Friday — we went on a sojourn to the Crossroads district of Kansas City for First Friday. There, we discovered the most amazing shop called Oracle. A place full of all kinds of curiosities — skulls, taxidermy, bones, teeth, feathers. A shop FULL of items forsaken. Their website is http://www.oraclekc.com.

You can imagine my immediate fascination.

The visit reminded me of a project I’d begun a long time ago: to photograph skulls with flowers. Inspired partly by my deep interest in all things left behind; partly because of my long time enchantment with skulls and bones; and partly because I’m a huge fan of Georgia O’Keefe’s paintings of skulls and flowers.

I photographed a racoon skull with some lilacs. And then I got busy with 1000 other things. But the project has always stayed on my mind.

Over the past few years, I’ve been collecting and borrowing skulls of all shapes and sizes. My friends and relatives have become aware of my desire to get more skulls and so I now routinely receive skulls and bones as holiday gifts (thank you cousin Ron!). It makes for great conversation when there is a skull peeking out of a holiday themed bag in the back seat of my truck. Nick and Billy also collect them from everywhere. Many are from our farm from animals who have passed naturally, wild and domestic. Some are from hunting where the animal was taken for food or as population control. The collection is becoming quite extensive. (And, yes, I can always use more, so if you have one to give or loan, let me know!)

So, to make a long story longer, I came home from July First Friday’s all enthused. Nick was kind enough to get some of the skulls out of the still packed boxes in the shop. I set up a studio in our new basement and, viola, one month later we have photos of skulls and flowers. In true procrastinator style, I managed to cut the last of the Queen Ann’s lace (at dark) and pair it with a coyote skull. As an afterthought, I snatched a batch of Missouri ironweed growing among the Queen Ann’s and there you go — Raccoon Skull with Missouri Ironweed. Below is Coyote Skull with Queen Ann’s lace in color and infrared. I think I like the infrared version better. Click to enlarge the photos below.

About the Forsaken Gallery

Forsaken objects fascinate me.

What we leave behind, abandon, relinquish, disown, junk, dump and scrap absolutely amazes me. It says a lot about who we are as a culture, that forsaken objects are in abundance throughout our world. It says a lot about an individual as to what unique forsaken objects he or she has discarded.

Junk and junk yards have been a favorite photographic haunt of mine since my very first camera. Some of the very first images I made were of disavowed items. They are a favorite subject in this blog. They include everything from living breathing animals to houses; tractors to Anastazi Ruins; trucks to trinkets; skulls to shells.

Forsaken Gallery: Fordson Power Major

Forsaken Gallery: Fordson Power Major

This Fordson tractor is at my cousin’s house. Many members of my family love to collect junk with the thought of future repair — but it often gets abandoned to more pressing projects and time. Farms have a way of doing that to you — stealing away even the best intentions. It is not at all unusual to find tractors, combines, plows, and other implements simply left where they were last used. I love the added effect of the tools in the seat, all growing moss and rust along with the tractor itself. It makes you wonder what life intervened in this tractor’s repair — what was the last thought before laying down the tools in the seat and moving on never to return?

About the Forsaken Gallery

Forsaken objects fascinate me.

What we leave behind, abandon, relinquish, disown, junk, dump and scrap absolutely amazes me. It says a lot about who we are as a culture, that forsaken objects are in abundance throughout our world. It says a lot about an individual as to what unique forsaken objects he or she has discarded.

Junk and junk yards have been a favorite photographic haunt of mine since my very first camera. Some of the very first images I made were of disavowed items. They are a favorite subject in this blog. They include everything from living breathing animals to houses; tractors to Anastazi Ruins; trucks to trinkets; skulls to shells.