For the second time, photographic works will be on display at the Scuola Internazionale di Grafica. They are the photos of Nicole Jean Hill, large format (60×40 cm) and so sharp as to seem almost hyper-realistic. The series exhibited at the gallery “Il Sotoportego” is composed of some large portraits of domestic animals inserted in the “habitat” created specifically for them. And here is the rabbit Lou, in his cage placed in front of the window, overlooking a park in which, however, he cannot go; or Mr. Mouse, with his millet and his cardboard, photographed on a table decorated with a centerpiece and a candle for the occasion.
Nicole Jean Hill, born in 1978 but already a Photography teacher at Humboldt State University in California, chooses her subjects almost by chance: she meets people at her classes, or on the street, on the subway, and asks to photograph their pets. Many accept, many prepare their pets for the occasion: they clean their cages, place them in the most suggestive places of their apartments, prepare a corner especially for the photo, as in the case of Mr Mouse. The beauty of Nicole’s photos is that they show an absolutely American way of life: she documents, for example, through her photographs, the fashion that has been spreading for some time (and has also arrived in Italy) to consider as pets not only dogs and cats, fish and turtles, but also reptiles, dangerous animals and insects. This is the case of Cockroaches, which literally means “cockroach”: but let’s not think about our cockroaches, the American ones are almost three times as big! This one, for example, almost reaches the size of an Ambre Magique!
Nicole’s works are sometimes playful, funny, and thanks to the large format and the extreme sharpness, you can see every little detail of the scenes depicted. Nicole is a professional photographer, she personally takes care of every step leading to the finished work, she develops her photos to obtain the desired effects. Nothing is there by chance, everything is studied, to investigate the relationship that the human being has today, in the city, with “his” animals: “While our having subjugated the natural world seems to have irreparably isolated the human being from other living beings”, says the artist, “my images represent hybrid situations of nature and culture, and examine the ambiguous boundaries between mutual trust, interaction and imposition”. Her portraits of domesticated animals, whatever their species, almost demonstrate how we have come to “organize our interrelationship with non-human kind, namely all other living things.”
Thus, from these images emerges, at times, the function of these animals, reduced almost to “mere decoration,” while the lack of dissonance between the human and animal element is in some images, the artist herself acknowledges, even “disconcerting.” Nicole’s interest, however, focuses on the study of the relationship between man and his pet, in its various facets.