Wildlife in the Banff National Park

by Gabriella Solti

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Wildlife in the Banff National Park, 2013, artist book, 4″ x 4″, digitally printed photographs, hand-bound with handmade silk cover, 24 pages unpaginated, edition of 12, $30

This book is a collection of my digitally printed photographs in a handmade casebound book covered with 100% silk book cloth that I made by hand.

The book is about my encounter with wildlife and was inspired by my experience in the Banff Centre during a six week artist residency in the summer of 2013, my first visit in Banff and the Banff National Park. One would expect to see elk, deer and bear in the book but no matter how close (literally just at arm length) I was to elk and deer many times, they always buried their head into the bush or flower bed they were eating from. None of them ever looked into my camera.

This experience led me to the idea rather to make a photo series over a period of two weeks of the only wildlife I could observe in depth: a moth on my worktable in my studio. I photographed it with my bookmaking tools on the table as well as with the silk butterfly-themed book cloth I made for the cover. Occasionally I also used theatrical lighting using a LED pocket flashlight. It is my humorous take on my big expectations (I guess shared by many) of seeing large games in abundance in the National Park who then remained elusive for observation and I was left to make the best out of an ordinary moth. The luxurious binding also aims to give stature and significance to this ordinary subject.