Delicately wielding a scalpel, Chris Maynard (previously here and here) slices into feathers to create images of the very creatures that shed them, reproducing birds of flight within his tiny found canvases. Not only is Maynard concerned about the material aesthetically, but is also interested in how humans have treasured feathers and their meaning for thousands of years.
Often Maynard places the positive cut-out next to its negative shape, making it appear as if the tiny bird is flying from the feather, or escaping its original form. Each feather varies in size and color, from the tiny and muted to large and brightly colored. The feathers used in his works are acquired legally from zoos and private aviaries, all naturally shed by birds that range from crows to peacocks.
Recently the Pacific Northwest artist, author, and naturalist has compiled his works into a book that provides detail into his creative process, the lifespan of his subject, and the symbolism of feathers titled Feathers, Form and Function. Maynard also covers the biological in the book, outlining how how feathers have evolved and grow. You can see more of Maynard’s writing and works on his blog here.
Since October 2014, the streets of Upper Manhattan have become an unexpected destination for rare sightings of some 314 endangered birds. The Audubon Mural Project is a collaboration between the National Audubon Society and Gitler &_____ Gallery to commission murals of climate-threatened birds surrounding the old neighborhood of John James Audubon.
The Swallow-tailed Kite mural contains 12 other climate-threatened species. The church tower to the right of the mural is the location of John James Audubon’s final resting place. Photo: Mike Fernandez/Audubon
Swallow-tailed Kite and other birds by Lunar New Year. Photo: Mike Fernandez/Audubon
Black-chinned Hummingbird, by Ashli Sisk. Photo: Mike Fernandez/National Audubon Society
American Redstart, by James Alicea. Photo: Mike Fernandez/National Audubon Society.
Bald Eagle, by Peter Daverington. Photo: Camilla Cerea and Mike Fernandez/National Audubon Society.
Tricolored Heron by Iena Cruz. Photo: Mila Tenaglia.
For the last 6 years, Scottish wildlife photographer Alan McFadyen spent an estimated 4,200 hours seeking the perfect shot: a symmetrical image of a kingfisher diving into its own refelection in search of prey. Last month, after 720,000 exposures he finally got it. McFadyen certainly snapped hundreds of other successful images along the way, but this particular photo—as it existed in his imagination—eluded him for years.
“Kingfishers dive so fast they are like bullets, so taking a good photo requires a lot of luck – and a lot of patience,” McFadyen told the Daily Mail. The difficulty is compounded by the fact that female kingfishers only rarely dive, so timing is essential.
McFadyen owns Scottish Photography Hides which rents out hides in pristine locations in Southwest Scotland for use by wildlife photographers. You can explore more of his photography on Flickr. (via PetaPixel)
In the summer of 2013, Chicago artist George Keaton and photographer Mariah Naella were preparing for their engagement party in Wisconsin when they made a seemingly insignificant discovery that would soon dramatically impact their life. Repairmen who were replacing old window frames in their apartment had quietly left something on their kitchen counter: a tiny egg. The workers had inadvertently destroyed a pigeon nest while fixing windows and randomly decided to salvage the egg.
The couple tells the Chicago Sun Times that in the process of discarding the egg outside, Naella realized something was moving inside of it. Within minutes—and to their great astonishment—it almost immediately began to hatch. Late that night the couple purchased a small syringe at Walgreens to use for feeding, and the next few weeks were dedicated to rearing a peppy little pigeon they named Camp.
Two months later, following advice from a wildlife expert, they decided Camp was large enough to release into the wild, but upon opening the window they discovered he was completely uninterested in leaving. Camp has since become accustomed to flying near their Lincoln Square home, and is free to come and go as he pleases, but has never traveled far and always returns home. The pigeon is now a part of the family, and has become a bit of a local celebrity whose daily adventures are shared on Instagram. He’s even spawned an entire line of prints, jewelry, and and shirts.
On learning about Camp’s story randomly through Instagram, Belgian painter Adele Renault realized she had a new muse. Renault is known for her large-scale photorealistic portraits of people and pigeons, and it wasn’t long before she began documenting the Chicago bird’s adventures in lockstep with Naella and Keaton. A selection of her giant oil on linen paintings depicting Camp during several stages of his life will be on view starting tomorrow at Havas Annex in Chicago. (via Colossal Submissions)
At the beginning of 2015, origami enthusiast Cristian Marianciuc challenged himself to create a new origami crane daily for 365 days. Marianciuc says each piece is influenced by the day he’s having, a sort of visual record of the moment set against the folded backdrop of a paper bird. The whimsical cranes are generally more decorative rather than exploring folding techniques, but it doesn’t make them any less fun to look at. To see more, he posts everyday on Instagram. (via Geyser of Awesome)
For Halloween this year, Alexis Noriega of the Crooked Feather designed and built this wickedly amazing pair of pneumatic articulating wings that spring to action at the press of a button. What a great design, the sound of air pressure really adds to it. Noriega says she’ll soon have a tutorial online so you can build your own. (via Laughing Squid)