Birds Eloquent

About this Project

Birds Eloquent looks at the poetry not only within and of the birds themselves but also their environment and context that is often, though not exclusively, found in the wilder and more natural places that remain in a fragile ecosystem. It is envisioned that the images will be accompanied with texts spanning the history of natural history writing, from the observational and scientific, to move evocative pieces which take you into the world of birds and their environs as only words can. It is the combination of these two elements coming together that gives a sense of what it means to be astounded and in awe of birds.

The project simply grew from a love of being with birds all my life, watching and recording from an early age and accompanying my brothers on bird outings. All the work is carried out in the British Isles, a country offering so much diversity but under so much pressure.

Never chasing, never collecting species, never year lists or life lists, just a love of watching, anticipating and marvelling. Photographically, I came late birds, and firmly believe that a well considered image of a blackbird can be every-bit as engaging and eloquent as an image of a rare warbler, and I would rather, at the end of a days shooting, have an eloquent image of a more common species than a record shot of a rarer one. My main focus is exploring how the medium can help convey a sense of place and the extraordinary habits of birds, giving my audience a sense of my own experiences in the field.

The work continues to develop and more and more I find myself pulling back from the bird and working more with how it is experienced in the field. Time waiting for the ‘right moment’ is time not only invested in the image, but in my well being and this aspect of ‘slowing down’ is becoming central to the work.

Project Timeline

1966

Ten o’clock Buzzards and Herons along Loch Melfort begin an awakening with the natural world.

1971

Trip to Devon with my family sees my first comprehensive bird diary kept. I continue to log birds seen around the Lancashire coast.

1976

Start local natural history group in school, take younger kids out on field trips to local sites.

1980

Ornithology becomes my main focus of interest outside of my working hours as a photographer.

2006

Begin to photograph birds. My brother, Phil, who had been photographing birds for 15 years, sells his equipment and I take on where he left off.

2007

Set up Orange Pebble Natural History Tours to the Islands of Scotland and Wales - run day courses on landscape photography in and around South Wales.

2008

Publish a series of Natural History images in ‘Round Every Corner’ and begin to supply images to County Councils in Wales.

2009

Build three hides on farmland in the Vale of Glamorgan and begin to record the natural history of the farm and the river Ely.

2010

Start to work with the commoner species in an attempt to produce work for ‘Birds Eloquent’ Begin extensive blog on my excursions out within the natural world in Great Britain.

2011

Begin to work with single species to work towards definitive images. Begin with the wintering wildfowl and particularly the geese and swans.

2012

Start collecting original books of early bird photographers such as R.B. Lodge, Arthur Brook, G. K. Yeats and the Kearton brothers. Begin to select written accounts from them to accompany my images.