animals

Posted in Photographs, Film, and Video

Are India’s Elephants Blessed Creatures or Indentured Servants?

Elephant blesses priest in Jambukeswarar Temple. Thiruvanaikaval, Tamuil Nadu, India.  © Annette Bonnier
Elephant blesses priest in Jambukeswarar Temple. Thiruvanaikaval, Tamuil Nadu, India. © Annette Bonnier

Photographer Annette Bonnier captures the world surrounding the lives of Asian elephants in Indian society. More»

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Posted in Exhibitions and Installations, Getty Research Institute, J. Paul Getty Museum

Dogs at the Medieval Banquet

A Hunter and Dogs Pursuing a Hare, about 1430–1440, Unknown. Tempera colors, gold paint, silver paint, and gold leaf on parchment, 10 3/8 x 7 1/4 in. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Ms. 27, fol. 85
A Hunter and Dogs Pursuing a Hare, about 1430–1440, Unknown. Tempera colors, gold paint, silver paint, and gold leaf on parchment, 10 3/8 x 7 1/4 in. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Ms. 27, fol. 85

Who let the dogs in? More»

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Posted in J. Paul Getty Museum, Photographs, Film, and Video, Publications

A Brief History of Animals in Photography

In the Box/Out of the Box / William Wegman
© William Wegman

Animals as photographic subject. More»

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Posted in Art, Sculpture and Decorative Arts

In This Unusual Exhibition, Sculpture Is Best Viewed by Car

Tiger 1, 2001, Gwynn Murrill, Edition 1 of 6, Bronze, 39 x 54 x 27 inches. Courtesy of LA Louver, Venice CA
Tiger 1, 2001, Gwynn Murrill, Edition 1 of 6, Bronze, 39 x 54 x 27 inches. Courtesy of LA Louver, Venice CA

Art best viewed from behind the wheel? In Century City, cast bronzes of SoCal fauna create an outdoor, drive-by art gallery. A tour. More»

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Posted in Behind the Scenes, Getty Villa, Photographs, Film, and Video, Voices

A Young Buck on a November Morning

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I spoke to him quietly: “I’m not here to hurt you, my friend. I just want to take your picture to share with the world how beautiful you are.” More»

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Posted in Art, J. Paul Getty Museum, Manuscripts and Books

Christmas Adventures, from Silver Screen to Gilded Page

Alistair Sim as Scrooge repents his selfish ways in the 1951 movie version of A Christmas Carol
Scrooge repents his selfish ways in the 1951 movie version of A Christmas Carol. Courtesy of United Artists

I love Christmas movies, from the moment when Natalie Wood is stunned by Santa Claus speaking Dutch in Miracle on 34th Street to Rudolph setting off with Hermey the dentist in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. One of my other great… More»

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Posted in Art, Paintings, Photographs, Film, and Video, Prints and Drawings

Dogs Behaving Badly

A Merry Company / Jacob Jordaens
A Merry Company, about 1644, Jacob Jordaens. Watercolor and white gouache heightening over black chalk. The J. Paul Getty Museum, 2000.59

Most dogs are impeccably well behaved—in art, anyway. They sit quietly on laps, raise a paw for their beloved master, or contort themselves into perfect S curves. The king of Old Master dogs is Guercino’s heroic mastiff, who looks like… More»

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Posted in Art, Exhibitions and Installations, J. Paul Getty Museum, Manuscripts and Books

The Manuscript Files: An Impish Ape in a Medieval Zoo

Adam Naming the Animals in the Northumberland Bestiary / English

One of my favorite acquisitions of the past five years in the Getty’s manuscript collection is the Northumberland Bestiary (Ms. 100), featured currently in the Gothic Grandeur exhibition. A bestiary is a kind of medieval encyclopedia of animals. In addition… More»

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Posted in Art, J. Paul Getty Museum, Paintings

Anatomy of a Horse Painting

The Piebald Horse / Paulus Potter

In George Stubbs’s Brood Mares and Foals, which arrived at the Museum in October as a temporary anonymous loan, horses are sympathetically portrayed within the bucolic landscape of the English countryside. The overriding mood is idyllic, as a small coterie… More»

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      A Chat with Photographer Tomoko Sawada

      A conversation about Japanese matchmaking traditions, self-portraiture, clothes, and identity.

      When did you start photographing yourself?
      I began making self-portraits when I was 19. It was an assignment for a photography class. I can’t even explain in Japanese why I liked them so much. It was instinctual. It’s as if I knew that this was going to be my style, that this is what I wanted to do. And I’m still doing it because I love the self-portrait, but I don’t know why. 

      What themes are you exploring in your work?
      I’m interested in the relationship between inside and outside. If you wear a sexy dress or if you wear kids clothes or casual clothes, people treat you differently. Even though you are you no matter what you wear. It’s that relationship that makes me think. 

      My new work is from when I was living in New York. When I was in New York, people didn’t think I was Japanese. Sometimes they thought I was Korean or Chines or Mongolian. Even Singaporean. It was funny, when I would go to the Japanese market, they would speak to me in English. When I went to the Korean market, they would speak to me in English again. I don’t seem to look Japanese outside of Japan. I was surprised because I think I look totally Japanese. It’s funny that people’s points of view are totally different.

      Could you talk a little about OMIAI, the series that represents a traditional Japanese matchmaking technique.
      OMIAI is a tradition that is somehow still working today. Usually, there is a matchmaker and photographs are exchanged before meeting. If both sides are interested, they can meet for lunch or dinner accompanied by their parents and steps for marriage proceed from there. In the old days, some people chose their marriage partner just through photographs, without even meeting each other. 

      When OMIAI was exhibited in Japan I saw people making various comments in from of the work. People would say things like, “she looks like a good cook; surely she would prepare delicious meals every day,” or “ this girl could be a perfect bride for my son,” or “I can tell she would not be a good housewife,” or “she’s such a graceful girl; she must be the daughter of a decent family.” Comments like that. 

      What was the process of making that work?
      I gained 10 pounds before I started taking the pictures, and in six months I lost forty pounds, because I wanted to look different in each photo. I wanted to change the way my legs looked. 

      Every weekend I went to the hair salon and put on a kimono. Then I went to the photo studio on the street in Japan. I would take a picture and then change my clothes to western dress. Then I would go to the studio again the next weekend. 

      Did you tell the photographer how you wanted it done?
      I told him I was an artist and wanted to make photographs with him. I told him to think that each weekend new girls would show up to make the OMIAI. I didn’t want him to think of me as the same girl who came every weekend. He understood the concept. 

      We had fun. While he was taking pictures, his wife would tell me how to lose weight. She gave me many tips.


      Tomoko Sawada’s work is on view at the Getty until February 21, 2016 in “The Younger Generation: Contemporary Japanese Photography”

      02/11/16

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