Penguin. Magpie. (She’s not dead, just goofing off!)
To say photographer Leila Jeffreys had an eclectic upbringing would be a bit of an understatement. With a mother from India and a father from the Isle of Man, she has lived in Papua New Guinea, a house boat in Kashmir despite an ongoing war, and in an Indian village surrounded by buffaloes, mongoose, and monkeys.
As a child, Jeffreys was taught by her father to rescue and nurse birds back to health, an experience that resulted in a deep understanding of wildlife that is immediately apparent when viewing her spectacular portraits of birds. Her affectionate photographs of owls, eagles, cockatiels and budgies seem to capture the essence of each animal’s personality, portraying many of them with surprisingly human characteristics.
Jeffreys now lives in Sydney and recently completed work on her latest series of predatory birds titled Prey. She just opened an exhibition at Olsen Irwin Gallery that runs through September 28, and you can also see a collection of her cockatiel photos later this year at Purdy Hicks Gallery in London. Do yourself a favor and follow her on Instagram.
Arist and illustrator Karina Eibatova (previously) just partnered with LUX Cards to create this phenomenal set of playing cards inspired by her bird and feather drawings. The cards will be printed by the United States Playing Card Company on official Bicycle card stock. The deck is called AVES (Latin and Spanish for birds) and is quickly gaining steam over on, yes of course, Kickstarter. Couldn’t back this quick enough.
Since we last covered work by DALeast, the artist has painted numerous pieces around the world, particularly a number of bird-themes murals in Poland, Spain, and now New York City where he just completed a towering painting of a bird clutching another bird on the side a Manhattan building. Born in China, the muralist/sculptor/painter is currently based out of Cape Town where his use of frenetic lines to compose animals, people, and other forms is almost instantly recognizable. You can follow his lastest adventures on Facebook. (via StreetArtNews)
Australian artist Andy Thomas creates what he describes as “audio life forms,” specifically 3D animations that respond to audio input. For these latest pieces he used archival bird recordings from the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision (in addition to one of his own recordings) to create these new digital sound sculptures that animate in different ways in reaction to the songs of each bird. Thomas uses more software tools than we could reasonably share here, but you can learn a bit more over on his website.
Paper artist Maude White cuts meticulous depictions of birds, people, leaves and other compositions embedded with hidden scenes and stories. Each piece can involve thousands of minute cuts giving the works an extreme feel of density and texture. White is currently based in Buffalo and will have work on view next month at the Western New York Book Arts Collaborative as part of a show titled Birds I’ve Been. You can see more of her work in her portfolio and over on Instagram.
Back in 2012 we featured a brief video about a small automaton that could almost perfectly mimic the song of a bird. Using mechanics similar to a clock, the fully automated wind-up device sucks air into a small bellows and forces it through a tiny whistle that sounds exactly like a singing bird. What my non-automata-knowledge-having-self didn’t realize at the time was that the century-old gadget was just one part of a much more intricate miniature automaton called a singing bird box.
The invention of singing bird boxes is attributed to Swiss-born watchmaker Pierre Jaquet-Droz who also played a significant role in the creation of The Writer, a programmable automaton of a writing boy that recently inspired the movie Hugo. The basic device includes the bellows mechanism mentioned above along with a fully articulated bird with a moving beak, rotating head, and flapping wings. Several 18th and 19th century watchmakers including Jacob Frisard, Frères Rochat, and Charles Bruguier, were inspired by Jaquet-Droz’s to create their own opulent variations of singing bird boxes which are highly prized by collectors today. Variations include cigar holders, singing bird guns, and jewelry/makeup boxes.
One fantastic source of many antique bird boxes is London-based Douglas Fisher Antique Automata who carefully films almost all of their devices and makes them available on their YouTube channel. Included here are a few of my favorites, and you can also watch a number of fantastic technical videos about singing bird boxes filmed by Troy Duncan. (via The Presurfer)
Photographer Chris Morgan snapped these great macro shots of hummingbirds in 2011 at Bosque De Paz, a 3,000 acre privately-owned biological reserve in the middle of Costa Rica. The top photo is a Green-Crowned Brilliant, a bird that only grows to a length of 13cm and is not known for its ability to sit for portraits. You can see more of Morgan’s bird photos here. (via Lost at E Minor)