Some of these early wunderkammern still exist today in museums and private collections. Between 2001 and 2008, Herzog visited 15 of these collections to photograph their displays. Her subjects are often infants born with genetic defects that prevented their survival, preserved as scientific specimens. Herzog’s haunting, tender images capture not only the content but also the intent of wunderkammern: as she says, “to see, and to know.”
A slide show including representative photographs and commentary by the artist is also available on the Science Friday website.