May 22, 2024


Xavi Bou is a chook photographer who doesn’t take footage of birds. He takes footage of flight. And in doing so, his gorgeous artworks ask us to suppose past the pure fantastic thing about birds’ actions. Unlike different types of movement evaluation, which take a purely scientific method, Ornithographies combines science with artwork, shifting away from early chronophotography methods utilized by photographers reminiscent of Etienne-Jules Marey or Eadweard Muybridge. Seeking a stability between data and inspiration, Ornithographies is a undertaking of nature discovery and, on the identical time, an train of visible poetry.


First of all, why birds?

My grandfather shared his ardour for nature with me from once I was a bit boy. He used to take me on his day by day birdwatching walks within the Delta del Llobregat, and taught me about birds and wildlife.

About eight years in the past, I noticed a paw print whereas mountain climbing in a forest in Catalonia and I requested myself: “What form of tracks would birds go away whereas flying?” I began imagining strains and shapes whereas they soared by the sky, and thought: “How can I make the invisible seen?”


Ornithography #34: Yellow-legged Gull, Barcelona, Spain  © Xavi Bou


How did Ornithographies begin?

I used to be filming a few seagulls flying across the boat on a website positioning/BirdLife birdwatching journey alongside the Catalan coast. While enhancing the video, I seen the wave patterns they made with their wings, and I used to be mesmerised. We may say that was my ‘eureka second’: after a decade of looking for an inspiring private undertaking that was firmly linked to one thing I used to be keen about, I had discovered it. And Ornithographies was born.

I didn’t need to take standard wildlife footage. Alongside my scientific profession, I come from an promoting and creative background, so I get pleasure from experimenting with the method and needed to supply one thing progressive. I imagine that, within the creative enviornment, we must be ingenious and never anchored to the previous or to established artwork varieties.

Preparing the undertaking concerned greater than 5 years of trial, error and technical research. I found that I wanted to file the birds with excessive decision cinema cameras and knit 1000’s of pictures into one picture to attain the specified impact. My approach, regardless of being digital, resembles analogue images in that I can’t see the ultimate end result till the top of the method. Once I understood the methodology, I targeted on birds and their completely different flight patterns.

READ ALSO  Holkham’s iconic Poplars get the chop


How did you’re feeling originally, when all the pieces was new?

During the early years I used to be in a continuing state of discovery and fascination – and I nonetheless am, as birds always shock me. I bear in mind going to Aiguamolls de l’Emporda – a preferred vacation spot for birdwatching journeys within the northeast of Spain – on a extremely popular summer season day and recognizing a bunch of storks. One of the most important challenges of my approach is that I virtually don’t see something once I body the digicam, as a result of I desire to file from afar to get the entire motion. So I arrange my cameras and began recording the storks’ flight.

To my shock, once I merged the photographs, I realised the storks had been flying inside thermal currents and making excellent, lovely shapes that appeared like ribbons flying within the wind. I additionally realised that the actions I search to create for my paintings are, on the identical time, a clue for individuals who want to establish chook species higher.


Ornithography #178:  Murmuration of Common Starlings with Peregrine Falcon, Spain © Xavi Bou


Do you may have a favorite species to work with?

The species I at present get pleasure from most are swifts, that are my favorite birds (once they migrate, I really feel the town will get emptier), and starlings. People contemplate them frequent and don’t pay them a lot consideration, however I might encourage everybody to analyse their flight and behavior. These birds have complicated flight kinds and transfer in flocks, which permits completely different social interactions like searching for safety from predators, feeding, socialising and so on. All this enables me to get very attention-grabbing outcomes, whereas including a way of problem to my work.

My undertaking will not be a research of motion as an evaluation of chook morphology. I need viewers to desert rationality and, when the form of the chook vanishes, to understand life. This is probably the most progressive a part of my undertaking: I’m exhibiting motion by images and altering the notion of time by birds.

READ ALSO  Commission confirms it: lead shot will finally be banned in wetlands


Usually wildlife photographers purpose to point out the animal, not make them disappear…

Personally, it is extremely necessary that the form of the chook has vanished in my footage. Viewers then face a mysterious, natural determine. Nowadays it’s unusual for us to be in entrance of an unknown form, and the great thing about this undertaking is that it permits a viewer’s creativeness to fly! Depending on every individual’s visible and private background, the picture appears to be like like one factor or one other. For instance, on this picture [see Ornithography #41, top of page], individuals have requested me if it’s a digital portray or an image of micro organism by a microscope!

I’ve been contacted by choreographers, mathematicians and designers specialising in biomimicry – science that research nature’s fashions, designs and processes, after which imitates or takes inspiration from them to unravel human issues – as a result of they’ve been impressed and inquisitive about the motion or shapes of the photographs.


Ornithography #112: Black Kite, Tarifa, Spain  © Xavi Bou


Have you had any expertise with chook migration?

The migration of birds is, for me, the flight par excellence. A dwelling being that, to be able to enhance its dwelling situations and observe its intuition, decides to fly unthinkable distances by completely different continents dealing with all form of threats deserves all our admiration. My dream is to journey to completely different websites of migratory significance to have the ability to {photograph} the magic of chook migration and assist chook conservation.

I as soon as went to Tarifa, within the south of Spain, to {photograph} birds migrating to Africa. It was very windy and Africa couldn’t be seen because of fog over the ocean. I used to be amazed as a result of I may witness how birds paused their migration, patiently ready for the sturdy winds to cross. I went to a discipline the place I noticed tons of of Black Kites ready for the best climate situations. Early within the morning, they’d rise and fly in opposition to the wind to verify the ‘climate forecast’. If you see uncommon shapes on this image [see Ornithography #112, above], the up and down actions are as a result of they ‘suspended’ themselves within the air and, when the situations had been good, they rotated in a loop and began their migration journey.

READ ALSO  English Springer Spaniel


How can individuals develop into extra impressed by nature?

I want to encourage individuals to understand frequent birds and, on occasion, take a break and take a look at the sky. Nature has the capability to shock and amaze us, taking us again to a curious, harmless mind-set. Birds join individuals to nature, and by observing them with out expectations, only for the enjoyment of it, we will enter a state of mindfulness.

Usually, when photographers have a undertaking, they dedicate a while to it after which bounce to the following one. I’m very happy with giving this one continuity as my ‘life undertaking’. Personally, due to birds and nature I discovered my very own type – I need to work on it and I nonetheless really feel they may present me with lots extra issues to find!


Ornithography #33: Griffon Vulture, Valderobles, Spain © Xavi Bou


Recently, Xavi Bou has expanded his work to video, creating Murmurations, the place we will witness how starlings take part flocks of 1000’s, performing a mesmerising dance to be able to confuse the falcons attacking them, and portray the sky with their strikes. Whilst Bou’s artwork walks hand-in-hand with science, his pictures now not present actuality as we all know it. Instead they permit us to witness moments that symbolize the previous, current and future all of sudden – that’s a strong thought to contemplate at this important turning level in our planet’s historical past.


Discover extra at: