Collected From Within (2012)

The specimens in these photos were captured inside the building or on the grounds of the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. Dating as far back as the founding of the institution up to recent years, these are examples of a natural history colection caught in the unusual act of collecting itself. They are also an inadvertent record of the human personnel who work in the building. 

The photographs were taken by Richard Pell during a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship in 2010 - 2011.  They are specimens that have never been exhibited and are infrequently, if ever, examined for scientic purposes. They were not sought out during scientic expeditions into the wilderness. Instead, each independently and coincidentally wandered into the largest collection of documented biological diversity on the planet.