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The Thylacine Refigured

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Chapter Summary

While truth claims may have dominated readings of a photograph, they are as much an interpretation of the world as paintings and drawings. Some photographers used technical methods to focus attention on an animal's body, while other images demonstrate how effective photographs could be when an animal was simply 'posed' and how a visual signifier could tap into a host of popular mythologies and intertextual references. The thylacine at New York Zoo in one of the photographs in which stripes predominate has its forefeet on what appears to be a white sheet that covers the wooden boards of the floor it sits on. While posing the thylacine was often a time-consuming activity, cropping a photograph was a particularly quick, efficient way to accentuate a particular feature of the animal. The removal of a background entirely had a radical effect on the impressions produced by an image.

Keywords: backdrop; photographs; thylacine



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