Raymond Bandar with his animal skulls. Photo: Ross Feighery
SAN FRANCISCO— Unbridled Passion, that is the best way to describe Raymond Bandar unflinching desire to collect all sorts of animal skulls. For the last 50 years, Bandar has devotedly collected animal skulls, turning his San Francisco home into a treasure trove of animal skulls. Where ever one turns, there is a skull in view.
In his recent photography project, Ross Feighery, a Chicago and Los Angeles based photographer, takes us into the life of a bone collector, revealing a home filled with skulls. Called the “Bone Palace”, Bandar has more than 7,000 pieces meticulously organized on walls, shelves and any space he could find.
A longtime field associate for the California Academy of Sciences, Bandar is a retired high school biology teacher. He began collecting the bones about 1964. While many of the bones came from dead animals that washed ashore along the California coast, others are from expeditions and trades with other collectors around the world.
Raymond Bandar is a proud bone collector. Each of the portraits taken by Feighery shows a man who finds great pleasure in his collection. In one of the photos, Bandar is captured sitting in front of his collection. Dressed in a striped long-sleeved shirt and a pair jeans pants, Bandar shows contentment for his achievement. In another image, he beams with a big smile.
From the portraits, it is clear that getting the space to add more skulls to this collection will be challenging. But as a sign in Bandar’s “Bone Palace” note, “THERE IS ALWAYS ROOM FOR ONE MORE!! OR TWO! OR THREE MORE!! Some of Bandar’s skulls are presently on display in the Skulls Exhibit at the California Academy of Sciences through November 30. You can see more of Ross Feighery’s photographs on Behance.