Bird #5 (2022)

A final set of photographs produced in response to the avian whirligig of The Kick-About #54, and in response to some of these later images I began to feel real excitement as to the potential for developing this technique still further: I was left thinking about different sorts of maquettes, and different spaces, and different lighting and better cameras… and then it was time to cut down the elastic, recycle my cardboard bird, and get on with something else.

Bird #4 (2022)

More bird-like imagery produced for The Kick-About #54 by photographing a quickly-made cardboard maquette on various long exposures, with the cardboard ‘thing of feathers’ being launched through the air via the ‘ping’ of a length of elastic. What pleasure there is in taking such mundane constituents, and from them producing moments of metamorphosis and beauty.

Bird #3 (2022)

A further set of photographs produced in response to The Kick-About #54, which saw me photographing a cardboard bird-form maquette on various long exposures, which I sent whirling about the rooms of my house on a length of taut, white elastic. There is a Turner-esque quality to some of these images and a pleasure too in de-materialising an otherwise solid thing into wisps and brushwork.

Bird #2 (2022)

In response to the bird-based ‘whirligig’ prompt of The Kick-About #54, I set myself the ambition of photographing the movement of a flapping bird in the confines of my house, in the knowledge that a) I didn’t have a bird and b) birds are difficult to manage as the subject of a photographic shoot! For sometime now, I’ve been rather preoccupied with the transformative effects of long exposure photography, so taking some of this experience forward, I built a cardboard ‘bird shape’ from packing boxes (imagine a confection of wing-shapes slotted together in a vague cruciform construction), sprayed it white and blue, then tied it onto a length of white elastic. What followed was largely comical, as said ‘bird-shape’ was made to swing from one side of the room to the other, or ping through the air like something launched from a catapult. That said, the combination of time, light and movement is nothing if not transforming, and very soon I understood I did indeed have the semblance of a ‘thing with feathers’ – and perhaps a little more than this in some of the most successful images. More to follow.

Bird #1 (2022)

Developing some ideas first inspired by a previous bird-based Kick-About, I set about thinking about how I might release a bird into the rooms of my home and photograph it by which to respond to The Kick-About #54. Actually, I set about constructing a cardboard, bird-shaped whirligig that I could suspend along a length of white elastic, which I then sent twanging around the low-ceilings of our tiny seaside home and photographing on longish-exposures.

From humble ad-hoc origins (I spray-painted the cardboard bird-thing with cans of old car paint from the shed, and using our landfill wheelie bin as a spray booth…), I was able to produce some surprisingly transformative photographs. Some of them even left me thinking, ‘It’s an actual bloody bird!’. I did four different shoots over four different days – an hour-a-piece – and tried a few different things each time, with the resulting photographs moving quickly towards more impressionistic effects, and I’ll be sharing more images over the coming days.