All photos by Graham Haber for The Morgan Library

My son Ben is creating videos for The Morgan Library exhibit In the Company of Animals on how animals can inspire the creative process and I wanted to write about his approach.  You can see the video featuring Emma Straub on Youtube here.   

This is basically an A Capella piece; all you hear is Emma Straub’s voice.  It was recorded very close to the microphone, so it has a very intimate quality.  The effect is that you feel like it’s just the two of you and she’s telling you her secrets. It makes her very present and, in a quiet way, it draws you in.  

And of course the voice is edited, but you can’t tell — the spacing of the words and movement of the story just flows along.  Graham, the photographer, did a wonderful job capturing the interactions between Emma and her cats.  You can see that Emma knows you’re there watching, but it’s more like she’s letting you in on the joke, sharing her space and her pets with you.  Which also makes the piece so effective. 

You can she how intertwined she is with her two cats.  All of which helps you understand how she practices her art, and her writing, in the company of animals.