Charlotte Dumas

Vlaardingen NL 1977, lives/works Amsterdam and New York

Anima
2012
HD video
length 13'44"
2013.CD.16

Holland Cotter in the New York Times of February 21, 2013

The sitters for the most beautiful show of new portrait photography so far this season are horses, specifically the team of Army horses used to pull caissons in military funerals at Arlington National Cemetery.Charlotte Dumas has photographed them after their workday is over, when they are back in the stable, settling down for the night.

Seen under soft light in shadowy stalls they have an archaic, monumental beauty, enhanced by their marble-white coats. Yet seated on the stable floor, their legs folded under them, they look unexpectedly vulnerable, like trusting children. And Ms. Dumas brings us in close enough to see tender details: the light-colored lashes on great dark eyes; the exposed stretch of a bare, bent neck revealing delicate patterns of musculature and veining.

The most moving element in the show is the short video she shot of the horses gradually nodding off, eyes fluttering, heads starting to droop. In a startling image, one horse rolls back onto its side, as if suddenly pushed, as it falls into deep sleep.

In the past Ms. Dumas has photographed wolves and stray dogs, and, in 2011, the search-and-rescue dogs who worked at ground zero. These equine pictures, commissioned by the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, may be her best work yet, classic examples of the portrait genre, and distillations of a deep interspecies connection.