WILDLIFE DESIGNS TAXIDERMY

David Williamson, owner of Wildlife Designs Taxidermy, wanted to create a Humans of New York (HONY) style photography project with the taxidermy community in Texas. David wanted to help show his clients, and others curious about his trade, how many different people and processes are a part of the industry, and their different perspectives on animal and land conservation. Liz traveled to different parts of the state to photograph and interview subjects, and David used the project as a successful social media campaign for his business. Additionally, the project was featured in the Texas Observer's column, Eye on Texas.

 
  Rachel, Owner of Weird City Taxidermy. Austin, TX   “I think people who are involved in taxidermy look at animals in a different way. As much as I love them and love them alive. Of course, that goes without saying. I adore them, but at the same time I can look at a dead animal and still love it just as much in a different way. As morbid as it sounds.”

Rachel, Owner of Weird City Taxidermy. Austin, TX

“I think people who are involved in taxidermy look at animals in a different way. As much as I love them and love them alive. Of course, that goes without saying. I adore them, but at the same time I can look at a dead animal and still love it just as much in a different way. As morbid as it sounds.”

 “The animal is beautiful even in death. The life of the animal may not still be there, but the beauty of it’s fur and form, for example, is still there. The motion of it’s gone, the life has gone out of it, but we see it as an opportunity to bring it back into a piece of art that will be unmoving for the remainder of it’s new life, but that’s still beautiful.”

“The animal is beautiful even in death. The life of the animal may not still be there, but the beauty of it’s fur and form, for example, is still there. The motion of it’s gone, the life has gone out of it, but we see it as an opportunity to bring it back into a piece of art that will be unmoving for the remainder of it’s new life, but that’s still beautiful.”

  David, Third Generation Taxidermist. Austin, TX   "Growing up doing taxidermy with my dad, most of the clients that came in seemed like they were fairly well off. They’d come in in business clothes. I particularly remember smells, and there were a lot of guys who came in with cologne on and I thought, ‘man, that’s the dream if you just wake up and put cologne on and nice clothes on, you’ve got it made.’ I got back into taxidermy because I just realized that sitting behind a desk isn’t fulfilling for me. I work with my hands, I work with natural objects like leather, antlers, bone, clay. Sitting behind a desk doesn’t seem natural for me.”

David, Third Generation Taxidermist. Austin, TX

"Growing up doing taxidermy with my dad, most of the clients that came in seemed like they were fairly well off. They’d come in in business clothes. I particularly remember smells, and there were a lot of guys who came in with cologne on and I thought, ‘man, that’s the dream if you just wake up and put cologne on and nice clothes on, you’ve got it made.’ I got back into taxidermy because I just realized that sitting behind a desk isn’t fulfilling for me. I work with my hands, I work with natural objects like leather, antlers, bone, clay. Sitting behind a desk doesn’t seem natural for me.”

  Charles, Fourth Generation Butcher. Austin, TX   “Every artist creates their own things. I like creating my own food sources. I can create different sausages that aren’t out there, different smoked meats, and different spices I think people would like. If I like it, I like to share it with other people.”

Charles, Fourth Generation Butcher. Austin, TX

“Every artist creates their own things. I like creating my own food sources. I can create different sausages that aren’t out there, different smoked meats, and different spices I think people would like. If I like it, I like to share it with other people.”

 
  Neal, Hide Tanner. Kerrville, TX   “I’m a people person more than anything. I could probably be making thousands and thousands of dollars but I don’t because I give stuff away. It’s what intrigues me. It’s never the same everyday. There’s something different everyday. You’re working on something different. You’re meeting new people all the time. You’re making people happy.”

Neal, Hide Tanner. Kerrville, TX

“I’m a people person more than anything. I could probably be making thousands and thousands of dollars but I don’t because I give stuff away. It’s what intrigues me. It’s never the same everyday. There’s something different everyday. You’re working on something different. You’re meeting new people all the time. You’re making people happy.”

 
  Todd,   Payer Eyes. Dripping Springs, TX   "There are the few hunters do it just for the sport of it. But generally speaking, the majority of hunters do it because they’re conservationists and they put food on their table. So it’s a win win.”

Todd, Payer Eyes. Dripping Springs, TX

"There are the few hunters do it just for the sport of it. But generally speaking, the majority of hunters do it because they’re conservationists and they put food on their table. So it’s a win win.”

  Lotus, Payer Eyes. Dripping Springs, TX   “I think a lot of people don’t see that taxidermists love the animals. And they would love live ones as well. And I think a lot of them are avid fishermen and hunters but also they’ll go out in the morning just to go out in the morning to listen to the birds and to watch the deer walk across the field.”

Lotus, Payer Eyes. Dripping Springs, TX

“I think a lot of people don’t see that taxidermists love the animals. And they would love live ones as well. And I think a lot of them are avid fishermen and hunters but also they’ll go out in the morning just to go out in the morning to listen to the birds and to watch the deer walk across the field.”

 
  Judah, Payer Eyes. Dripping Springs, TX   Glass alligator eyes.

Judah, Payer Eyes. Dripping Springs, TX

Glass alligator eyes.

 
Tax_8_Website.jpg
  Luis, Hydro Dipper. Austin, TX   "A lot of people think that hunting is cruel and mean and it’s absolutely far from it. Hunters are very humane. They’re normally the best animal lovers. You find a guy that’s a bird hunter. His dog is taken care of better than probably some guys take care of their wives.”

Luis, Hydro Dipper. Austin, TX

"A lot of people think that hunting is cruel and mean and it’s absolutely far from it. Hunters are very humane. They’re normally the best animal lovers. You find a guy that’s a bird hunter. His dog is taken care of better than probably some guys take care of their wives.”

  Chris, Bird Taxidermist. Kerrville, TX   “It’s always felt natural. There’s more to it on a whole different level. I have an uncle who passed away when he was 21-years-old, but he was a bird taxidermist. In the room that he passed away in, I spent a lot of time in as a child. And soon after that, I became a bird taxidermist. It was really creepy almost, it was almost like a passing of the torch on a spiritual level. It was really, really bizarre. Bird taxidermists are, I can only imagine, one out of 50,000? And the chances of me being one and my uncle being one and spending the time in that room. It’s crazy...I know there’s something going on, all the way down to the level that I’ve had dreams that weren’t mine. I feel like I’ve had my uncle’s dreams.”

Chris, Bird Taxidermist. Kerrville, TX

“It’s always felt natural. There’s more to it on a whole different level. I have an uncle who passed away when he was 21-years-old, but he was a bird taxidermist. In the room that he passed away in, I spent a lot of time in as a child. And soon after that, I became a bird taxidermist. It was really creepy almost, it was almost like a passing of the torch on a spiritual level. It was really, really bizarre. Bird taxidermists are, I can only imagine, one out of 50,000? And the chances of me being one and my uncle being one and spending the time in that room. It’s crazy...I know there’s something going on, all the way down to the level that I’ve had dreams that weren’t mine. I feel like I’ve had my uncle’s dreams.”

  Taylor, Hydro Dipper   “We do it because we love animals. We make them look as natural as possible, try not to turn something out that doesn’t look like it’s supposed to. We wouldn’t do it if we didn’t like the animals.”

Taylor, Hydro Dipper

“We do it because we love animals. We make them look as natural as possible, try not to turn something out that doesn’t look like it’s supposed to. We wouldn’t do it if we didn’t like the animals.”

  Jet, Mannikin Maker. Kerrville, TX   “Taxidermy was the closest thing I could get to hunting and fishing when I was about 19 years-old. I just enjoyed putting animals back together and making it look close to what it did when it was alive.”

Jet, Mannikin Maker. Kerrville, TX

“Taxidermy was the closest thing I could get to hunting and fishing when I was about 19 years-old. I just enjoyed putting animals back together and making it look close to what it did when it was alive.”

  Jet, Mannikin Maker. Kerrville, TX   “We try and duplicate what the Lord’s done. Do the best you can to get it close. It’s never perfect, but it’s close.”

Jet, Mannikin Maker. Kerrville, TX

“We try and duplicate what the Lord’s done. Do the best you can to get it close. It’s never perfect, but it’s close.”