Imbued with wide-ranging symbolism – from joy or dread to death or divinity – the bird has long been a source of inspiration for creatives. Some of the best-known admirers of our feathered friends have ranged from Pablo Picasso to photographer Eric Hosking, whose 60-year career saw him break new ground in how birds are documented.
“Today, birds are a popular subject among professional and enthusiast photographers the world over, not least because they are more accessible than many other creatures to photograph, but at the same time present an irresistible, fast-moving challenge,” writes Gemma Padley in the introduction to Hoxton Mini Press’ new bird-themed photo book.
The latest tome from the indie publisher avoids the clichéd wildlife photography we’re used to seeing, instead featuring 28 thought-provoking and unusual projects from both famous and lesser-known photographers around the world.
Many of the images frame their subject matter in new and imaginative ways – some of them, such as Tom Leighton’s abstract, altered images, would not help you identify the birds they depict at all.
Joel Sartore’s photos, meanwhile, ask us to look each of his subjects in the eye – confronting us not just with their intelligence but their vulnerability, and Andrew Garn’s images of New York pigeons joyfully challenge the assumption that they are little more than city pests.
Aimed at bird lovers and photography enthusiasts alike, the book asks us to look at these mysterious winged creatures in a new light. “What unites all these projects is their ability to breathe new life into a timeless subject,” writes Padley.
“They artfully and playfully encourage us to look again at the boundless wonders of the avian world. And, ultimately, they remind us why we should care about these miraculous creatures hidden in plain sight: not only to protect their lives, but to enrich our own.”
New photography of the Bird is published by Hoxton Mini Press; hoxtonminipress.com