April 19, 2022
Early in the pandemic, when much of Yale’s campus was shut down, Meredith Miller ’03 M.F.A. found inspiration in the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library’s digital collections.
Miller, a senior photographer at the Beinecke, turned to her artistic practice while the library’s facilities were closed. She began searching the digital collections for images of animals from manuscripts, books, and photographs, acquiring a virtual menagerie of exotic, threatened, or endangered species, including rhinos, elephants, and buffaloes.
Miller transformed this motley zoo into a series of playful still-life photographs, each featuring a different animal. Then she invited her Beinecke colleague MaryJane “MJ” Millington to compose poems to accompany the photographs. Millington’s verses and Miller’s images form “Dreaming Animals,” an exhibit on the Yale Health Center’s third floor that explores the complex relationship between humans and wildlife, probing the contradictions in how people claim to love and treasure animals while often treating them with indifference or cruelty.