Woman Crush Wednesday: Sara Angelucci
Interview by Eridian Falcone
Describe your creative process in one word.
If you could teach a one-hour class on anything, what would it be?
How to make pasta (noodles and sauce!).
What is the last book your read or film you saw that inspired you?
Coda a film about composer Ryuichi Sakamoto by Stephen Nomura Schible. It’s a moving documentary about an incredible artist.
What is the most played song in your music library?
Patti Smith singing Within you without you by George Harrison.
How do you take your coffee?
With milk and a tiny bit of sugar.
What was your inspiration for this body of work?
This work was inspired by a collection of anonymous photographs that I had been accumulating for some time. One day I started thinking about how sad it was that these people who had once been someone’s loved one – a sister, a daughter, a son, a husband, were now these anonymous faces. In a film Christian Boltanski said something like “they say we die twice, once when we die and a second time when no one recognizes our picture.” I started thinking in general of the idea of disappearance and extinction…and then of birds that go extinct. Although it seemed like a leap at the time to merge them, once I started photographing endangered and extinct birds at the Royal Ontario Museum and experimenting with layering the portraits and birds together, it really made sense to me. Everything is interconnected; we are part of nature. These hybrid creatures are a way to create something strange and evocative that reminds us of this fundamental relationship.
How did you decide which portrait got paired with which bird?
I took the portraits to the ornithology lab where I photographed the birds and studied the expressions and shape of the faces, the clothing style, their hair and compared them to the markings, colours, and feathers on the birds. I was also true to gender. That is if it was a female bird I would search for an image of a woman that I thought suited the birds plumage and energy. It was amazing how I would see a face and just know – you have to be the barn owl or you’re going to be the red headed woodpecker for sure!
Do the identities of the portraits bear any significance to you and your work?
It’s the fact that they are anonymous that’s important because that’s what happens with pictures over time, they become unmoored from their origins. Very few of our family pictures will remain in tact, or known, or connected to their lineage. There are thousands, millions of anonymous and lost photographs floating around in the world.
Where did you obtain these portraits?
I bought most of them on ebay.
Would you consider yourself a "bird watcher"?
Not in an obsessive dedicated way – as people who go on bird watching excursions (although I would love to) but we have a cottage where I keep binoculars and am regularly learning about the birds in our area. I can name most of them and am always thrilled when a new one appears that I can’t identify. I get excited with trying to learn what it is. The spring and fall migration bring in species that we rarely see like Baltimore Orioles and Indigo Buntings. Learning bird song is still a challenge although I can identify some.
You can find more of Sara's work here.