In this exhibition, artist and photographer Jim Naughten brings objects from Manchester Museum‘s collection to life using stereoscopic photography. Developed in the 1800s, stereoscopic photography creates the illusion of viewing images in 3D; the subject is photographed from a right and left-eye perspective and looked at through a stereoscopic viewer. For Animal Kingdom: Stereoscopic Images of Natural History, 20 pairs of photographs of specimens including an Atlantic white spotted octopus and a transparent chameleon are on display, contrasted with natural history specimens from the museum’s collections.
Naughten spent a year engaging with collections including those of the Grant Museum of Zoology, the Oxford University Museum of Natural History and the Horniman Museum and Gardens in preparation for the exhibition. Martin Barnes, senior curator of photographs at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, says of the photographs: “Witnessed in three dimensions, the specimens in fluid and articulated skeletons become sculptural. The bellying of a ribcage, the swoop of a tail, or the turn of a head is an expressive form in space.” This is, in other words, an opportunity to see museum specimens in a whole new way.