Colleen Plumb's photographic work centers upon examining the human ambivalence towards animals, and the contradictory, often absurd, sometimes tender ways they are woven through the fabric of American culture. Our connection with animals is often developed through assimilation and appropriation, and reveals kinship as well as disjuncture. Plumb's focus for the past fifteen years has been an inquiry into a society whose appetite for animals, whether in flesh or in reproduction, with admiration or obsession, is voracious. Radius Books published her first monograph, Animals Are Outside Today, a 2011 PDN Notable Book.
Her work is held in numerous public and private collections, including the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, Milwaukee Art Museum, Southeast Museum of Photography in Daytona Beach, Girls' Club Collection in Fort Lauderdale, and the Fidelity Collection in Boston. Her photographs are part of the Midwest Photographers Project at the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, the Chicago Project at Catherine Edelman Gallery, and were recently featured on Women in Photography, wipnyc.org.
Plumb's work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, with recent solo exhibits at the Union League Club of Chicago, Jen Bekman Gallery in New York, Dina Mitrani Gallery in Miami, Notebaert Nature Museum in Chicago and van Straaton Gallery in Denver. Select group exhibitions have been at the Southside Hub of Production (SHoP) in Chicago's Hyde Park, Photographic Center Northwest in Seattle, Pinyao International Photography Festival in China, Griffin Museum of Photography in Massachusetts, Zolla/Lieberman Gallery in Chicago, CITY 2000 at the Chicago Cultural Center, and the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington D.C.
Plumb's work has been widely published and was recently featured in Photo District News (PDN), Time Magazine's LightBox, on the BBC in Brazil, and The New York Times LENS Blog. Plumb attended the University of Illinois in Urbana, Illinois and studied drawing before earning a BFA in Visual Communication in 1992 from Northern Illinois University. Plumb holds an MFA in Photography from Columbia College Chicago (1999), where she is currently an adjunct faculty member. Plumb resides in Chicago with her husband and two young daughters.