Photographs by Leah Sobsey

Text by John Fitzpatrick and Xandra Eden


10 x 10 | 128 pp | 
80 color photographs

Bird skins, bleached bones, tattered shoes and fragile butterflies are the photographic images in Collections, specimens unearthed from national park museums.

Collections: Birds, Bones and Butterflies

  • Leah Sobsey works at the intersection of nineteenth century photographic processes and twenty-first century digital technology. Sobsey photographs bird skins, bleached bones, tattered shoes and fragile butterflies that she unearths from the dark drawers of national park museum collections. Plucked from their original context, she illuminates them with sun and light, giving them new definition. The subject matter of each series she creates is dictated by her discoveries, bridging past to present, honoring both the specimens she works with and the medium of photography. Her project is particularly timely during this centennial year of national parks service, and as museum collections are in a current state of crisis due to diminishing funding and support. Her focus on the parks is a way of preserving these fragile specimens that represent American history. This body of work sheds light on the importance and significance of the collections and their impact on science, history, the humanities and the hundreds of thousands of visitors who leave their footprints on our national parks.