Colleen Plumb makes photographs, videos, and installations investigating contradictory relationships people have with nonhuman animals. Her work explores the way animals in captivity function as symbols of persistent colonial thinking, that a striving for human domination over nature has been normalized, and that consumption masks as curiosity. Plumb's work sheds light on abnormal behaviors of captive animals in order to bring attention to implicit values of society as a whole, particularly those that perpetuate power imbalance and tyranny of artifice.

One of her recent projects, Invisible Visible, published in Orion Magazine, reflects upon the industrial food system and meatpacking industry through the bones and bodies of chickens. Her 2021 installation, Surveilling Snow Lily, was highlighted as a Chicago must-see in ARTFORUM gallery guide.

Plumb's work is held in several permanent collections and has been widely exhibited, including the Portland Art Museum, Milwaukee Art Museum, Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, Blue Sky Oregon Center for the Photographic Arts in Portland, 21c, Oolite Arts in Miami, Center for Fine Art Photography in Fort Collins, Southeast Museum of Photography in Daytona Beach, Jen Bekman Gallery in New York, Edelman Gallery, AIPAD/Pier 94 in New York, Historic Water Tower Gallery and Notebaert Nature Museum in Chicago. Her work has been part of the Midwest Photographers Project at the Museum of Contemporary Photography since 2003.

Her first photography monograph, Animals Are Outside Today (Radius Books, 2011) critically documents ambivalent dispositions towards animals. Plumb's recent photography book, Thirty Times a Minute (Radius Books, 2020), examines the plight of captive elephants. Plumb's work has appeared in LitHub, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Village Voice, Blow Photo Magazine, New York Times LENS, Time Lightbox, Psychology Today, Oxford American, Photo District News, and Orion Magazine.

As a fourth-generation Chicagoan, Colleen Plumb grew up near Lake Michigan, seeing and seeking wildness within that urban landscape: from backyard birds to tree climbs and lake storms. She continues this exploration, focusing on relationships between humans and nature to increase empathy and unity across species and within our own. Collaborating with nonprofit organizations advocating for nonhuman animals, Plumb seeks to shift dialog around what is humane. Currently serving as faculty at Columbia College Chicago and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, she is represented by McCormick Gallery in Chicago and Dina Mitrani Gallery in Miami.


M.F.A. Photography, Columbia College Chicago, 1999
B.F.A. Visual Communication, Northern Illinois University, 1992
Coursework in drawing, University of Illinois, Urbana, 1989-90



2023    Illinois Arts Council Grant, Media Arts
2022    Columbia College Chicago Faculty Grant
2020    Culture and Animals Foundation Grant
2020    Phoenix Zones Initiative project grant
2020    Thirty Times a Minute, LensCulture Favorite Book by Eastman Museum Curator-in-Charge, Lisa Hostetler
2017    Columbia College Chicago Faculty Grant
2015    Prix Pictet Award Nominee
2015    Columbia College Chicago Faculty Grant
2014    Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) Artist Project Grant
2013    Columbia College Chicago Faculty Grant
2011    Animals Are Outside Today, PDN Notable Book by Holly Hughes
2011    3Arts Chicago Visual Artist Award Nominee
2010    Community Arts Assistance Program (CAAP) Grant, Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs
2010    Baum Award for Emerging American Photographers Nominee
2009    Ne Plus Ultra, Jen Bekman Gallery, NYC
2008    Blurb: Photography.Book.Now honorable mention
2008    Driehaus Foundation Individual Artist Award Nominee
2007    Urban Nature, No.1 Photography Exhibit, Historic Water Tower Gallery, NewCity Chicago
2006    CAAP Grant, Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs
1998    Stuart Baum Project Completion Grant
1997    Albert P. Weisman Scholarship



2022- present      School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Photography Department Lecturer

1999- present      Columbia College Chicago, Photography Department Adjunct Professor

Guest Lecture, Rochester Institute of Art, Contemporary Issues: Expanded Photography, 2021
Panel Discussion, Oolite Arts, Miami, FL, September 2021
Lecture, TCU Sustainability, Fort Worth, Texas, 2021
Speaker, McMaster Museum of Art, Animals Across Discipline, Time & Space, Hamilton, Ontario, 2020
Public Lecture, Museum of Art Fort Collins / Colorado State University, 2018
Panelist, Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts Conference, Toronto, Ontario, 2018
Speaker, Performing Animals Welfare Society Captive Wildlife Conference, Los Angeles, 2018
Lecture, Columbia College Chicago, Faculty Showcase, Displace: Public Video Projections + Spectatorship,  2018
Speaker, FOZE International Conference and Film Festival, Portland OR, 2018
Artist lecture, College of DuPage, Glen Ellyn, IL, 2017
Class guest lecture, University of Illinois, Urbana, 2017
Panel Discussion and Screening, Facets Cinema, Nonhuman Rights Project, Chicago, 2017
Visiting Artist and public lecture, Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, MI, 2016
Panel discussion, Center for Humans and Nature, David Weinberg Gallery, Chicago, 2015
Public lecture, Portland State University, Portland, OR, 2015
Class guest lecture, School of the Art Institute, Chicago, 2015
Artist in residence, Cooley Memorial Gallery, Reed College, Portland, OR, 2015
Panel discussion, Printer's Row Lit Fest, Chicago, 2012
Public lecture, Milwaukee Art Museum, April 2011
Featured speaker, Society for Photographic Education (SPE) Conference, Kalamazoo, MI, 2010
Visiting artist, Marwen Foundation, Chicago, 2009
Freelance Graphic Design, Liska & Associates, VSA Partners, Source, Inc., Chicago, 1995-2006
Graphic Designer, McMillan Associates, 1992-1995



Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, IL
Milwaukee Art Museum
Art Institute of Chicago
Portland Art Museum
Southeast Museum of Photography, Daytona Beach, FL
Joan Flasch Artists’ Book Collection, Chicago, IL
Notebaert Nature Museum, Chicago, IL
Beijing Natural Culture Center, Beijing, China
Ruttenberg Collection, Chicago, IL
Fidelity Collection, Boston, MA
Cleveland Clinic Art Collection
Tweet Big Chicks, Chicago
Girls’ Club Collection, Fort Lauderdale, FL
2003-Present, Midwest Photographers Project, Museum of Contemporary Photography



2023   21c Chicago, Holding Rhythm 
2021   Roman Susan, Chicago, IL, Surveilling Snow Lily
2021   Riverside Art Center, Riverside, IL, Invisible Visible
2020   McCormick Gallery, Chicago, IL, Thirty Times a Minute
2015   Blue Sky Oregon Center for the Photographic Arts, Animals Are Outside Today and Thirty Times a Minute
2014   The Screening Room, Miami, FL, Thirty Times a Minute
2014   Dina Mitrani Gallery, Miami, FL, Towards the Sky Again
2012   Brushwood Center at Ryerson Woods, Riverwoods, IL, Animals Are Outside Today
2012   Union League Club of Chicago, Animals Are Outside Today
2011   Radius, Santa Fe, NM, Animals Are Outside Today
2011   Dina Mitrani Gallery, Miami, Animals Are Outside Today
2011   Jen Bekman Gallery, NY, Animals Are Outside Today
2009   City Gallery, Historic Water Tower, Chicago, IL, Animals Are Outside Today
2009   Center for Fine Art Photography, Fort Collins, CO, Urban Nature
2007   Notebaert Nature Museum, Chicago, IL, Urban Nature



2020: McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario
2019: Worcester, MA and Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
2018: Reykjavik, Iceland; Los Angeles, CA; Portland, OR; Fort Collins and Denver, CO; Joshua Tree, CA
2017: Toronto, Ontario; Rochester, Syracuse, NY; Philadelphia, PA; Washington, D.C.; Cleveland, OH
2016: Detroit, MI; Santa Fe and Cerillos, NM; Berlin, Germany; Vienna and Melk, Austria; Paris, France; New York
2015: 17 locations in Portland, OR; Grand Teton National Park, WY; Victor, ID
2014: 25 locations throughout Chicago neighborhoods



30 Artists 30 Years, Freeark Gallery, Riverside, IL 
Holding Rhythm, video installation, 21c Cincinnati

Adopted Landscapes, Collective 62, Miami, FL

Embodied Forest, Ecoartspacecurated by Lilian Fraiji and Patricia Watts
The Ten Trusts
, Compassion Arts Festival, Worcester, MA
Natural Transcendence, Oolite Arts, Miami, FL
At Home
, Reuben Saunders Gallery, Wichita, KS

What Does Democracy Look Like?, Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago
Animals Across Discipline, Time and Space, McMaster Museum of Art, Hamilton, Ontario
Photography & ..., collaborations at Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago

One Thing Leads to Another, Ralph Arnold Gallery at Loyola University, and RomanSusan, Chicago
EXPO Chicago, with McCormick Gallery, Chicago

The Photography Show at AIPAD, Special Exhibition, New York, Path Infinitum, 2017
Targeted: Garret Hansen, Omar Imam, and Colleen Plumb, Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago
The Devil's Garden, with Marisa Anderson, Sam Coomes, and Vanessa Renwick, Portland Art Museum
Eclipse, Blue Sky Oregon Center for Photographic Arts
Infinite Games, Open House Contemporary with Rhona Hoffman Gallery, curated by John Preus

It is Only Necessary, screening, 2nd Floor Rear, Chicago
, Milwaukee, WI, screening: It is Only Necessary

Portland Art Museum, Thirty Times a Minute as part of "Next Level Fucked Up" by Vanessa Renwick
Christie's Photographs, First Open, New York

City Creatures, Notebaert Nature Museum, Chicago
Thirty Times a Minute, 
Silent Funny, Chicago, Johalla Projects
Thirty Times a Minute, Activate
, Johalla Projects and Chicago Loop Alliance, Monroe alley, Chicago
SPELLS, collaboration with author Peter Rock, Blue Sky Oregon Center for the Photographic Arts
Lovsång, Joan of Arc residency film screening, The Hideout, Chicago

HOMEDilettante Studio with John Preus, EXPO Chicago, video installation
PantGallery 339, Philadelphia
 Jen Bekman Gallery, New York

Stitched and Glued, Handmade Books, Riverside Arts Center, RIverside, IL, curated by Paul D'Amato

Artists for Obama, Stephen Daiter Gallery, Chicago, IL
On Making Things MatterSHoP (Southside Hub of Production), Hyde Park, Chicago
Wildlife in the Post-Natural Age, Williamsburg Art and Historical Center, Brooklyn, NY
Toward a Union of Public Artists, SHoP, Hyde Park, Chicago

ReFraming the Feminine, Girls' Club Collection, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Pinyao International Photography Festival, Pinyao, China

Exposures II, Dina Mitrani Gallery, Miami
Art Loop Open, Block 37, Chicago, IL
Art in Bloom, 
Milwaukee Art Museum
, Dina Mitrani Gallery, Miami, FL
Art Chicago, Photo-Eye Gallery, Santa Fe, NM

Mixtape, Jen Bekman Gallery, New York, NY
Mus-Mus @Parisjuried by Stephen Shore, Gil Blank and Denise Wolff
The Un-Natural Nature of Food, Fraction,
 Melanie McWhorter, curator
, Southeast Museum of Photography, Daytona, FL
Colleen Plumb and Zachariah Reikevan Straaten Gallery, Denver, CO
Photo-Op, 14th Annual Exhibit, PCNW, Photographic Center Northwest, Seattle, WA
15th Juried Exhibition, Griffin Museum of Photography, Winchester, MA
Art Chicago, Riverhouse/van Straaten Gallery, Denver, CO

Hey Hot Shot, Volume I, Jen Bekman Gallery, New York, NY
Beyond the Backyard, Museum of Contemporary Photography, Karsten Lund, curator, Chicago, IL
19th Evanston Biennial, Evanston, IL
Photography Now, Lubeznik Center for the Arts, Michigan City, IN

Bridge Art Fair, Standard Usage Project, Miami, FL
Field Guide to the North American Family, Humble Arts Foundation, NY
Power of Plants, Museum of the Earth, Ithaca, NY
Power of Plants, Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe, IL

InSight: Recent Additions to the Permanent Collection, MoCP, Chicago
New Chicago Photography, Version Fest, Iron Studios Chicago
Fresh StART, Santa Monica Art Studios, Arena 1 Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
Contemporary Condition, Hokin Center, Chicago, curated by Paul D’Amato
Click Art, Woman Made Gallery, curated by Whitney Bradshaw, Chicago

PROOF, SPE conference exhibition, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA
Power of Plants, US Botanic Garden, Washington, D.C.
BIRDS 2005 International, Beijing Natural Cultural Center, China
The Chicago Project, Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago

Frozen in Light, Zolla/Lieberman Gallery, Chicago
Chicago Land/Space/Place, Greg Foster-Rice, curator, Glass Curtain Gallery, Chicago

Movement, The Renaissance Society, University of Chicago
Art to Fear, ARC Gallery, Chicago

You Are Here, Chicago in the Year 2000, Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago

Our Town, CITY 2000, Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago
A Year in the Life, City Gallery Historic Water Tower, Chicago
CITY 2000, inaugural exhibit, Gallery 312, Chicago




Thirty Times a Minute (Radius Books, 2020), photographs by Colleen Plumb, contributing texts by Marc Bekoff, Julia Cooke, Catherine Doyle, Hope Ferdowsian, M.D., Linda Hogan, Les O'Brien, Joyce Poole & Peter Granli, Steven M. Wise, Mandy-Suzanne Wong

Night Swimmers (Soho Press, 2019), by Peter Rock, cover image

SPELLS (Counterpoint, 2017), by Peter Rock, a collaboration of text and photographs

City Creatures (University of Chicago Press, 2015), Edited by Gavin Van Horn and Dave Aftandilian

Exploring Color Photography, 5th ed., (Routlage, 2013), by Robert Hirsch

Animals Are Outside Today (Radius Books, 2011), monograph by Colleen Plumb, essay by Lisa Hostetler

Light and Lens: Photography in the Digital Age, (Focal Press, 2007), by Robert Hirsch

Field Guide to the North American Family (Knopf, 2007), by Garth Risk Hallberg

CITY 2000 (University of Illinois Press, 2006), Edited by Rich Cahan, Teri Boyd, and Gary Comer


Orion Magazine, Invisible Visible: Slaughterhouses, May
Got Punctum? Podcast with J. Sybylla Smith

ARTFORUMSurveilling Snow Lily, highlighted as Must-See, RomanSusan, Chicago, Feb 2021
Miami Herald, Arts Section cover image and review: Natural Transcendence, August 2021
Lenscratch, Politics in the Kitchen, Barbara Ciurej and Lindsay Lochman, April 2021

LensCulture Favorite Photo Books of 2020, Lisa HostetlerCurator in Charge, George Eastman Mueum
EcoLit Books, Best Environmental Books 2020, John Yunker
Minding Nature Journal, in-depth review by Radika Subramaniam
New Books Network, interview by Mark Molloy
Nonuman Rights Project webinar with Courtney Fern, Director of Government Relations
The Other Animals podcast interview with Laurent Levy, September 2020

Psychology Today, Animals, Exploitation, and Art: The Work of Colleen Plumb, interview by Marc Bekoff, Jan 2018

Lit HubCan an Artist Help Captive Elephants Win Legal Personhood? by Julia Cooke, November, 2017
The Village Voice, April 5, How Colleen Plumb Uses Her Art to Highlight the
Plight of Animals in Captivity
by Julia Cooke
Feature Shoot, Shedding Light on the Suffering of Captive Animals, by Miss Rosen, April 10

Virginia Quarterly Review
, Summer, portfolio, essay by Juila Cooke
Afterimage, vol. 43, April, 2016, SPELLS project, Stephen Longmire, interview
Glitterati, Inc., The Click, interview by Miss Rosen
A New Nothing, with Rachel Herman
Center for Humans and Nature, Closing the Door on Captivity, December

Artillery Magazine
Los Angeles, review by Christopher Russell

OPB, Oregon Public Broadcasting, State of Wonder radio interview, with April Baer
journal of the Knight Foundation, Towards the Sky Again, review by Anne Tschida

, Colleen Plumb: Towards the Sky Again, Aline Smithson,
Center for Humans and Nature, City Creatures, essay, Thirty Times a Minute
F News Magazine, Colleen Plumb's Elephant on the Wall, Paula Calvo

BLOW Photo Magazine
, Dublin, Ireland
Oxford American, Summer issue, cover image

RealSimple, April

New York Times LENS blogLove and Loss and the Animal Kingdom, by Kerri MacDonald

Women in Photography,, Animals are Outside Today, April
LANDSCAPE Stories, issue 05: Animals
BBC Brazil, Slideshow and review, June
TIME LightBox, Animals Are Outside Today, by Neil Harris
PDN Photo of the Day, April 14
FK: Foto Kvartals, interview by Elina Ruka
Nuevo Herald, Miami, by Adriana Herrera
l'Espresso, Rome, Lara Crinò
Lifeforce magazine, London, Damian Bird
Pasatiempo, Santa Fe, interview by Rob Dewalt
Photo Eye book review, Animals Are Outside Today, by Ellen Rennard
PDN Notable Books 2011, 
Animals Are Outside Today, Holly Stuart Hughes
La Lettre de La PHOTOGRAPHIE, Book Review, 
Animals Are Outside Today, Miss Rosen
Interview: Animals Are Outside Today, Miss Rosen
Santa Fe Radio Cafe: with Mary-Charlotte, October 27
The New York Photo ReviewAnimals Are Outside Today, Barbara Confino
Photograph Magazine, Snapshots
Animals Are Outside Today, exhibition review by Jean Dykstra, April
Our Hen HouseJasmin Singer, April
FlavorwireTom Hawking, April

New York Times T Magazine, Sunday, November 7
The Chain, curated by Stuart Pilkington

PDNExposures, February, by Alia Akkam
PDNChicago's Photography Scene, June
Nymphoto Photography Collective, Conversation
HotShoe International, The Second Life of Jen Bekman, Gallerist, June
Historic Water Tower exhibition essay, Karen Irvine, Museum of Contemporary Photography
PDN OnlineExposures: All Booked Up, by Conor Risch
The RumpusStephen Elliot
Personism blogJen Bekman
NewCity Chicago, Urban Nature, Historic Water Tower, review by Michael Weinstein

Artists' Showcase
Center for Fine Art Photography, Fort Collins, essay by Darius Himes
Art Slant, Beyond the Backyard @MoCP,  Abraham Ritchie

 Chicago, Eye Exam: For the BirdsJason Foumberg
NewCity Chicago, Tip of the WeekMichael Weinstein

Photography Now: 100 Portfolios
 DVD, Wright State, Dayton, OH

, Portfolio Issue