DeAnn Desilets - Photographer & Educator


“It’s not about what it is, it’s about what it can become.” ~Dr Seuss, The Lorax

When I was little, I used to sit in the woods behind my house and create stories. The bottom of trees became fairy worlds where moss became carpets and rocks transformed into fences. I fought many dragons with just a twig as my sword. My mind was open to experience and wonder, and I was not afraid to observe, get dirty and explore. I brought home frogs and turtles and watched Monarch caterpillars spin chrysalises on milkweed plants. I left peanuts outside chipmunk burrows so I could follow their movements.  The natural world drew me in then, and it still does today.   

Changing perceptions on both the visual and psychological levels in our real world can be a strong conduit for emotional experiences.  What the eyes observe, the brain interprets.  What the gut feels comes from strong emotions, not from logic or reason. The resulting interpretation is based on our past experiences, our present situation, and our future aspirations.  These connectors transport us to a world of wild imagination, vulnerability, fear, comfort, disorientation, warmth and uncertainty.

There is an inherent magic and wonder in the moments of self-discovery when, through childlike imagination, we stop and experience the worlds around us to give new perspectives on who we are and where we are in our lives. Through my imagery, my intent is to recapture the feeling of possibilities using my own internal responses derived from the location where I am shooting. In doing this I will create mystery, mood and inquiry.

The play of size, scale and illusion at different hours of the day or night can become a channel for this emotion.  Purposeful use of different size furniture throughout the series is to throw off perceptions which lead us to more inquisitive outcomes.  It is an exploration in the push and pull of adult vs. child, big vs. small, and living in one world and time of our lives and eliciting the emotions of another.


I am exploring this series a bit as I delve into some still lives. Harkening back to my days as a kid in the Museum of Natural History.  Can you remember the sense of awe you felt as you looked into the life size dioramas with animals that have met their fate with the taxidermist? They all seemed so real and they came to life for me.

Now I am exploring that idea on a much smaller scale with animal replicas within landscapes and food-scapes. At the moment, I am hedging towards a combination of both, I would not only like to give a feel of a museum, but I also want to have an undertone of humor. Overall, this series should come out having subtle narrative about sustainability and dependency on our natural surroundings.  “Fun with a purpose!” -Highlights Magazine


In a world free of pollution, human interference, and industrialization and growth we would live on a planet filled with every animal known to man. However as we grow and space gets smaller so do the habitats of many species that roam the earth. In our museums we recreate life size dioramas to pay homage to species that once were and some who still are, replicas of where they lived and who they may have lived with. If we don’t tread lightly our entire world as we know it might be behind glass someday.

Hearkening back to the stylization of old Audubon magazines, I created frozen tableau vivants, with both constructed and assisted involvements. These slices of nature contain many of the living animals we know today, and seek to bring whimsy and reflection about the world around us. Surrealistic and illusionary tension for the viewers is made, by placing a plethora of plastic animals into the picture plane frozen in “real” time.  It is that plasticity between real and fake that freezes the moment in time and where the narrative propagates in numbers. (Pun completely intended.)


As I continue to explore and expand with my visual shifts and shake ups, of the normal way we see things and assume size and scale I am finding my projects and images flowing into each other and evolving into something special for me and I hope into a unique perspective for you my viewer. Something to stop and think about what you are looking at, that one quizzical moment when you think what you see might be real and then you realize it is not.

There is something though in addition to this size and scale that has brought me to exploring with dioramas outside. Inspired by dioramas in the Museum of Natural History, about animals that are out there that could become extinct. The need to want to immortalize them not by taxidermy and a life behind glass, but in photos in my own quirky way to give pause and perhaps even a little whimsy.


An Exploration in a Single Dimension of Environmental Portraiture

What if Columbus wasn't right? What if the world WAS flat?  How would things look? Would we have to change our perspective of things? Perspective, altering size and angles to look real, has become fascination of mine. In this series, using people as my subject matter, I play with the picture plane using angles and depth of field  to create environmental portraits true to who they are, but not how they normally approach reality.