Media Releases

New book: Wildlife photography changed the way we think about animals

February 7, 2011

TORONTO, ON — Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to Art Cen­tre cura­tor and Muse­um Stud­ies lec­tur­er, Dr. Matthew Brow­er, com­pelling­ly inves­ti­gates the way wildlife pho­tog­ra­phy at the begin­ning of the 20th cen­tu­ry changed our per­cep­tion of ani­mals, in his new book Devel­op­ing Ani­mals: Wildlife and Ear­ly Amer­i­can Pho­tog­ra­phy.

Dr. Brow­er will give a brief overview of his book at a launch on Feb­ru­ary 15, fol­lowed by a recep­tion. Media are invit­ed and encour­aged to attend.

In Devel­op­ing Ani­mals, Dr. Brow­er looks back at the time when Amer­i­cans first start­ed tak­ing pic­tures of ani­mals, with pho­tog­ra­phy only begin­ning as a mass medi­um. The abil­i­ty to cap­ture ani­mals on film was a sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenge in the ear­ly era of pho­tog­ra­phy, with enthu­si­asts describ­ing their pur­suit as “cam­era hunt­ing.”

Dr. Brower’s study of visu­al cul­tur­al stud­ies and the his­to­ry of pho­tog­ra­phy lead him to believe that ani­mal pho­tog­ra­phy was a way to explore how we look at ani­mals.

“The book is my attempt to describe the way that pho­tog­ra­phy changed the way we think about and relate to ani­mals. Pho­tog­ra­phy gave us unprece­dent­ed access to ani­mals but also con­tributed to the sense they exist in a sep­a­rate realm. I argue that pho­tog­ra­phy is cen­tral to our mod­ern under­stand­ings of ani­mals and nature,” says Dr. Brow­er.

In his book, Dr. Brow­er argues that pho­tog­ra­phy has been essen­tial not only to the under­stand­ing of wildlife, but also to the con­cep­tu­al sep­a­ra­tion of humans and ani­mals. “This par­tic­u­lar kind of con­tact between humans and ani­mals has been cen­tral to our see­ing and think­ing about ani­mals today.”

Who: Dr. Matthew Brow­er

What: Book launch for Devel­op­ing Ani­mals: Wildlife and Ear­ly Amer­i­can Pho­tog­ra­phy

When: 4:30 pm, Tues­day, Feb­ru­ary 15th / 6 pm Recep­tion and book sign­ing

Where: Talk at Uni­ver­si­ty Col­lege room 140, 15 King’s Col­lege Cir­cle / Recep­tion: Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to Art Cen­tre, 15 King’s Col­lege Cir­cle


Dr. Brow­er is an instruc­tor in the Muse­um Stud­ies Pro­gram at the Fac­ul­ty of Infor­ma­tion, Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to and cura­tor of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to Art Cen­tre (UTAC). The Fac­ul­ty, along with the Cen­tre for the Study of the Unit­ed States, and UTAC, are joint­ly pre­sent­ing Dr. Brower’s book launch.

For more infor­ma­tion about Devel­op­ing Ani­mals vis­it:

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For more infor­ma­tion, please con­tact:

Kath­leen O’Brien, Com­mu­ni­ca­tions and Devel­op­ment Offi­cer
Fac­ul­ty of Infor­ma­tion, Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to
416.978.7184 or