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