Atlanta photographer Matt Odom wanted to find something out of the norm for the latest addition to his portfolio. For his personal projects, Matt always likes to find a story hidden where others might not look. He heads to someplace mundane or finds something others might not think to be beautiful. This time, he found his project in the workshop of a taxidermist.
I wanted to shoot something that had a little bit of grit and a dark tone but that lends itself to something more graceful. Often times people see taxidermy as something hideous and morbid.
Matt passed by the taxidermist shop often on his way in and out of Atlanta, so one day he decided to stop in and speak to the owner. It was the sort of place that was overlooked, had a dark feel, but also had potential for real beauty and a story worth telling. Matt took notes on the location, both on the space and how he would want to light things, and planned a return trip for the shoot.
The biggest challenge for the shoot wound up being the space. The shop was on the smaller side, stuffed on all sides with animals and equipment. But with one light, Matt was able to achieve the tone he wanted for the photographs.
Matt featured the taxidermist himself in many of the photos, “to put a face to the work,” Matt says. Doing so also emphasized the craft behind the subject matter. The pictures capture the art of taxidermy and the skill in bringing these once dangerous, now delicate creatures, back to life. The Taxidermist was featured in Aphotoeditor and Oxford American’s Eyes on the South. For Matt, the project was a great chance to expand his portfolio, get a laugh from a raccoon in a Cracker Jack box, and shed light on an art form underappreciated.
I learned that taxidermy is just like art. It requires patience, precision, and a taste of creativity to achieve the desired result.
To view more of Matt’s work, visit mattodomphotography.com.