Phenomenology of the Mink Trap

Five-piece cyanotype photograph on paper.

The American mink population grew rapidly across the outer Hebrides after escapees from fur farms swam and sailed as stowaways across the Sound of Harris to the Isles of Berneray and North Uist in the 1970s.

Mink populations grew far beyond that of their native habitat due to a lack of predating species. They fed on eggs of ground nesting birds, significantly damaging the populations of many species.

Nearly 2000 mink were trapped and ‘humanely dispatched’ with an air rifle shot to the brain stem.

These works utilise the inherent qualities of cyanotype process to capture durations of light and time. In this work I wish to raise the question of the minks’ experience during their incarceration in the traps. The form of the traps are inherently violent, and speak of humans’ clumsy intervention in a fragile ecosystem.

The process involved cyanotype paper, rolled and fitted into the traps and left to expose in sunlight at locations across the moorland of Uist.

all images copyright of Rosalind Blake © 2020