Backstory: The Art of the Museum Reflections

Traer Scott captures a disquieting reflection

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Traer Scott used a Nikon D700 and 24mm f/2.8 lens, with a hot-shoe flash.Traer Scott

When i was a little girl, my mother was an assistant curator at the Natural History Museum in Raleigh, NC. When she brought me with her to work, I would spend hours in its diorama room. These exhibits are both fascinating and macabre; I think of them now as a relic of our troubled coexistence with nature.

Visiting the Natural History Museum in New York, I accidentally captured my husband in a picture of a diorama. I liked the idea—the animals have been there for decades, but nothing is more fleeting than a reflection. I began returning and waiting by exhibits with a bounce flash, capturing people as they passed.

I love this photo because the girls are particularly fashionable, and there’s such a successful melding of the bodies. The one girl seems almost alarmed or uneasy, which is very fitting for a gazelle.