About the Author

Janna Fulbright

Janna Fulbright is a photographer and radio show host based in Texas.

In a message dated 97-10-15 12:57:20 EDT, you write:

 you did send the resume and i used it on your author page. but an artists'
 statement would be more personal. no rush!

Thank god!  Here's the goods (such as they are), and on time, too. Feel free
to edit at will. It seems long to me, but it's sort of vague and
undisciplined as manifestoes go.  I wrote this about four years ago.  Its
naivete shocks me now, but I find it quaint:

Work in Progress:
"Hunters and Healers"

"One of the main problems of mythology is reconciling the mind to this brutal
precondition of all life, which lives by the killing and eating of
lives...don't kid yourself by eating only vegetables, because they too are
alive.  So the essence of life is this eating of itself!"  ~~~~Joseph

As a child, I was surrounded by animals.  My father was a hunter, and he
brought home animals of all kinds:  squrrels, rabbits, duck, javelina.  He is
also a nurse--a profession that, when I was growing up in the 70s, was
genrally considered a "women-only" profession. Women, according to
conventional wisdom, were better-suited to the hands-on aspects of healing.
 The brain-work was left for the male doctors.  My father, stocky and
well-muscled, was and still is an excellent nurse.

His profession and his hobbies had a profound effect on me as a child.  In my
father and later in myself, the seemingly incongruous ideas of hunting and
healing went hand-in-hand.  At five, I was undisturbed by films of surgery.
My parents explained the films as if they were essential to my education.
 "There," my father would say to my sister and I, gesturing at our TV screen
with his dinner fork, "that's an aorta".

Hunting was an anatomy lesson. As I wathced my father clean game, he would
ask, "What's this?" holding up fish eggs or a heart with his knife.  It was
my task to guess.  It was a game.

An example:  
My family bought an aquarium.  However, we didn't have ordinary tropical
fish.  We had a bass that my father had brought home from a fishing trip. The
bass was later joined by two black baby catfish. Neither of these two species
(as far as I know) are able to survive on tropical fish food, so every
evening after work, Dad would catch minnows and small fish in a cast-net in
the ditch behind our house to feed to the fish.  Our evenings were often
spent watchng the food chain play out in our living room.  I remember eating
bass while watching our nameless, pampered fish swim around in the tank,
eating the minnows Dad had caught.  One night, the bass got over-enthused
about his own meal and jumped straight out of his tank and into the kitchen,
flopping onto the linoleum.

We eventually lost our fish.  We decided to take a trip, and oddly enough,
none of my parents' friends seems too eager to care for our bass. Dad mad
ethe decision to return him to the "wild". Guessing that the fish wouldn't
survive in a wholly wild environment, my father finally settled on a man-made
pond in a nearby park.  He told us that he had set the fish in the pond and
watched to see how he reacted to his new home.  As he watched, the fish
turned around to face him...and stayed there.  My father walked to the
left--the fish followed.  To the right--the fish followed.  Dad said that for
as long as he stood there looking at his pet, it stared back.

He never could explain that incident.  Did it spring from simple
conditioning?  Genuine attachment? I am not sure.  I do know that we tend to
set a higher value on the lives and responses of animals closer to us on the
evolutionary ladder.  But, my father taught me that maybe I could love a bass
as well as I could a puppy.  Perhaps the reverse holds true. Perhaps a bass
could love a human as much as a puppy does.  Perhaps not.

Another example:
My father went goose hunting.  He brought back three geese and one live goose
in a cage. The caged goose bore no bullet wounds, no pellet marks.   His head
drooped, his feathers were dull.  He didn't honk or flap or protest in any
way. He was ill.  Dad said that he had been posioned by eating lead shot left
by other hunters, and it was his job to nurse it back to health.  The goose
lingered in our garage for days, much to the consternation of our cats.  We
ate goose for dinner, and then headed out to see what we could do for the
goose in the garage.   Dad fed him, tended him, and made the goose
comfortable before the bird died.  Dad buried him in the vegetable garden
with the words, "You do all you can, but sometimes, things just die".

I was told in church that God said we had "dominion" over the plants and
animals on the earth.  I heard later, on public television, that the word was
not "dominion", but "stewardship".  

That was the value of my upbringing: to understand that brutality and
benevolece are sides of the same coin, and that both were essential to the
functioning of the planet.  I was taught that it is impossible to separate
what you eat or displace from its environment from yourself. No one can live
without consuming another's life.  Further, we as humans could not survive if
we did not care for one another as healers.

As an adult and a photographer, I am exploring those principles I was taught
as a child.  I want to photographs animals and humans and processes that we
overlook because they are not important, or because they are unsavory to our
sense of beauty. Adults lose that sense of wonder and curiosity associated
with the natural world, in all its untidiness. I am a parent now, and am
pleased and truly amazed that when most adults would refuse to wear a
necklace I made of minnows, my daughter considers it a privilege. This is the
same little girl who sobs when our cat eats a lizard.  She understands the
necessity of the brutality, but cannont help but feel sympathy for the victim
and amazement at the awsomeness of the process. Like her, I find beauty in
stitches, lizards, false teeth, snakes, worms--those things that can be of
monumental significance to a child. The very things we overlook are those
things which make us that we are as human beings--both hunters and healers.

 it's perfect. i'll run it as is.

Gallery Representation:
Photographs: Do Not Bend--Dallas, TX 
(214) 969-1852

episode 12

Boy/Bird (80 K)

Master List of Contributors (all episodes)