Book Alteration Project—Wild Horses: Endangered Beauty

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This is my first book alteration project. I need to pick a book that I love and alter it to present the idea of the book in a different form, using only the book itself and some adhesive media.

I picked Wild Horses: Endangered Beauty by Traer Scott. She is an amazing photographer specialized in animal portrait and this book in particular was about the modern situation of American wild horses. The idea that she conveys through phenomenal photographs is that wild horses are losing their ideal living environment, and more importantly, their “wildness” because of human intervention. I respond very well to her way of telling the sad story, subtle but very powerful.

I decided present this book in one long photograph of several horse portrait images to keep the nature of this photography book. I then used the book cover and bottom page as the “ends” to start and conclude the message. On the cover page I made the “wild” sign with camping signs to indicate human intervention and evasion of lives of wild horses. At the end I eliminated the “wild” word in the original title to suggest the loss of their wildness, and “horses endangered” also shouts out as a warning or a desperate call for help.

The horse portraits in between were carefully selected by me throughout hundreds of her pictures in this book. There are many other types of images that depicted wild horses’ lives in a more “lively” way, but I chose these images where these horses looking at the viewers closely with big innocent eyes. I want viewers to ask themselves why these wild horses seem to be less wild, and why the long faces. Then I use small pieces of images to “break” the image in a very blunt human way to reflect the effect of human intervention in reality. I particularly focused on horse eyes to make them have multi “horsenalities.” Yes they need shelters and medical care in order to survive, but they also don’t want to be separated from their original herd or family, or be treated as pets, auction merchandise, labor or even canned pet food. To help delivery these messages, I cut out some key words from the introduction part of the book and carefully rearrange them and place them onto the page.

Overall I want my presentation to be a piece that reveals more and more information, raise more controversial conversations, as a viewer walk closer and closer. The different aspects of the piece should help guide the viewers’ thinking process while remain visually interesting.

To see the original book

Copyright © 2013 Whitney Yu Bai All Rights Reserved

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