William Wegman (1943-)
Gelatin silver print
Image: 10 3/16 × 10 1/4 in. (25.9 × 26 cm)
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Purchase, with funds from the Mrs. Percy Uris Purchase Fund and the Photography Committee
Rights and Reproductions Information
© William WegmanCourtesy of William Wegman & Pace/MacGill Gallery
At first glance, this photograph appears relatively straightforward: a stuffed parrot is positioned on a pedestal, illuminated by dramatic, ominous lighting. Upon closer inspection, though, it becomes clear that there is a sight gag occurring in the background. The shadow cast by the parrot is not the parrot’s own, but rather that of a crow. The photograph functions, on one level, as a visual joke, delivered with William Wegman’s characteristic deadpan irony. At the same time, by demonstrating how a photographic image is not necessarily a “true” transcription of reality, Crow engages in a distinctly postmodern critique of traditional assumptions about the photographic medium.