Trophies is a dramatic series of animal portraits by Chicago-based photographer C. Owen Lavoie (better known simply as C. Owen) that presents an intriguing perspective of exotic creatures creeping out of the shadows. The collection of images are unlike your typical animal portraits that allow the viewer to take in every inch of the animal. Instead, these photos are mysterious and, at times, require a bit of puzzle solving to figure out what animal you’re actually looking at.
One might wonder how the photographer gets so close and is able to capture such stunning, still images of these wild beasts. The secret to Owen’s haunting images is that she uses taxidermied animals. Having discovered a fascination with the preservation of animals, the photographer further immortalizes their bodies through photography while exploring themes of death.
Her artist’s statement reads: “She captures their tragic story of innocence, anger, and fear through the expressions forced upon them by taxidermists and then modified by the lens. The animals emerge from a large black void that symbolizes death and forces us to imagine their missing bodies. They are again hunted, but this time only to be captured by the camera, giving them another existence.”