We’ve long been fans of Olympia, Washington-based artist Chris Maynard (previously) who assembles shadowboxes of cut feathers depicting the silhouettes of birds as they sing, perch, and swoop across the canvas. With a background in both biology and ecology the artist recalls working with feathers as early as the age of 12, utilizing heirloom forceps, eye surgery scissors, and magnifying glasses passed down through his family. Maynard acquires feathers for his artwork from zoos and private aviaries.
In this series of photographs featuring the delicate details of peacock feathers, photographer Waldo Nell relied on an Olympus BX 53 microscope to take hundreds of individual shots that were combined to create each image seen here. The process, called photo stacking, blends dozens or even hundreds of photos taken at different focal points and then stitches them together to extend the depth of field. At this level of detail the feathers look more like ornate jewelry, thick braids of iridescent necklaces or bracelets, rather than something that grows organically from the wings of a bird.
By day Nell is a software engineer in Port Moody, BC, Canada, but is fascinated by technology, science, and nature, all of which he merges in his photography practice. You can see more of his work on Flickr. (via Reddit)
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.
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)
Photographer Thomas Lohr is known mostly for his high-profile fashion shoots for clients like Vogue, Le Monde d’Hermès, and i-D, but somewhere in his grueling shooting schedule he still finds time for personal projects, the most recent of which is a collection of bird plumage photos gathered into a limited edition book titled Birds. Lohr wanted to take a slightly different approach with the project and instead of capturing the animals in their entirety, he decided to focus on what intrigued him the most: the color, texture, and form of their feathers.
The abstract photos of wings, bellies, and other near unrecognizable parts of each bird are accompanied by each species scientific name like “Anodorhynchus Hyacinthinus” or “Geronticus Eremita,” creating yet another unfamiliar layer of abstraction. You can take a peek inside the book on Lohr’s website, and read an interview over on AnOther. (via AnOther, This Isn’t Happiness)
Using a small scalpel as his primary tool, artist Chris Maynard (previously) carves artwork out of feathers giving them new life on a canvas. “Each feather, though dead and discarded, keeps something of the bird’s essence,” Maynard tells us. Indeed, the colorful and sometimes humorous creations highlight the feather’s beauty but also encourages us to ponder the life of its previous owner. “Since I work mostly with shed feathers, some of the birds that grew them are likely still living,” adds Maynard. If you’d like to learn more about Maynard and his work he has a new book out titled Feathers, Form, and Function. (via Colossal Submissions)