Baker, Tamany

Tamany Baker, Bristol, Great Britain

Drawing from an MA in Documentary Photography and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, my work examines layers of the psyche and the tension found between the natural world and our modern existence, whether in the ice fields of Iceland or my own back garden.  I work instinctively to respond to my personal experience, using subconscious narratives and a sense of ritual to engage the audience and challenge the “disembodied eye” of Cartesian rationality.

Tamany Baker has been making photographs for over twenty five years and currently works as artist and university lecturer in photography and Visual Culture, regularly exhibiting her work internationally.  The Series Living with Wolfie, documenting the poignant presents her cat brings in to her home, won the Conceptual and Constructed Fine Art category of the 2009 Sony World Photography Awards.

Living with Wolfie

The series documents my response to the 'presents' that Wolfie, my beloved cat, brings into the home. At first, I experienced some kind of horror: these dead creatures waiting for me in different parts of my house. Then I looked at Wolfie and tried to understand the instincts which brought them there. It reminded me of the difficulty I have in understanding the behaviours of the opposite sex or of a different tribe. At the time, my ex-partner had been unfaithful and I saw some parallels in coming to terms with the difficult habits of the 'other', whilst also accepting their difference.

The ceremonial aspect of these photographs is similar to the Victorian practice of making a shrine from photographs of deceased loved ones, using flowers and locks of hair to preserve the memory of the living. With these images, I am instead making a photograph from a shrine, engaging with the changing patterns of nature to bring myself closer to the memory of death and of loss. They may also be a way of acknowledging certain destructive behaviours within myself (my own alien 'other'), as I become Wolfie’s accomplice in playing with the dead animals.