SPECIMENS Photographs by Julie Meridian
A constant collector of nature’s commonplace wonders, Julie Meridian is an artist with a reverent curiosity about the natural world. Inspired by the carefully classified and preserved specimens in the vast collections of the Field Museum, she began photographing her own collection. Instead of documentation, her intent is to convey the unfathomable mysteries the specimens exude, exploring themes of fragility and endurance, beauty and decay, chance and destiny, life and death. Employing a simple background of white paper and constantly shifting natural light, Meridian uses her camera to preserve each specimen in an ephemeral framework constructed solely of light and shadow. Her reward is the startling moment when the mundane reality of the specimen undergoes a quiet metamorphosis. Hovering between specimen and poetry, science and art, the moment challenges her to measure the immeasurable: the inevitability of loss and the transcendence of beauty.