This week’s image correspondence was inspired by episode #91, Wild Ones Live.
Our aircraft is on the ground, luggage is unloading and a bumblebee approaches my windowpane while I wait to deplane. I duck down in my seat so that all I can see out my window is the sky, and photograph the bee as it lifts off in flight.
The bee flaps her almost-too-small wings at 230 beats per second, and I, still strapped into the thorax of a plane, am fresh from hurtling through the sky at 733 feet per second. For a moment, I feel like an animal locked in a diorama, and the bee is a member of the viewing public peering in to look, examine, and leave.
Once upon a time, a hundred years ago, nobody’s career was spent counting, monitoring, and analyzing the gray wolves’ population health. In the United States gray wolves were the objects of a different management project: elimination. Whole careers, by contrast, were spent capturing, containing, and killing gray wolves.
The wolf elimination policy was almost entirely successful; by the 1930s, grey wolves essentially vanished from the contiguous 48 states. Today, wolf recovery and reintroduction is the subject of policy debates between those trying to preserve wild land heritage and those trying to preserve agricultural heritage.
Frontier Airline’s Animal Tails project, for its part, is familiarizing passengers with endangered and threatened species by featuring images of affably named animals like Lance the Ocelot and Ozzy the Orca on their plane wings. The wolf in the photograph, I learned upon some research, seems to be named Wally.
Coincidentally, when I made this photograph, I happened to be gliding over the regions where the grey wolf used to roam.
Special thanks to Orla O’Sullivan for her help researching and writing about this week’s image correspondence.
Kate Joyce is a Chicago based artist, architectural photographer, and the first image correspondent for 99% Invisible. Every two weeks, Joyce will release new and original work for specific episodes. She’ll also comb through her archive to find previously made photographs that are already in thematic conversation with current and past episodes. “I’m curious to see how audio will shape image and image will shape audio and what that will mean to telling stories about design over time,” Joyce says.
Now You See It is a project of 99% Invisible. Our intent is to create a public dialogue by offering our listeners a new way to interact with our show, as well as their own immediate environment. The project includes the Image Correspondent Residency and ongoing photo assignments for listeners. We want to get people out in the world engaging with our program, the built environment and photography. The images will have their own editorial arc, playing on themes that surface in our shows and leading us to new shows. This project came to us from the listeners and is a natural extension of our mission at 99% Invisible. It’s the next step in turning 99% Invisible from a radio show into a lens for viewing the world. Our first assignment will be posted soon, so stay tuned.