"Whether animate or inanimate, [British photographer Luke Stephenson] creates affectionate portraits of his subjects and documents worlds often hidden from the mainstream" (The Photographers' Gallery). His series, An Incomplete Dictionary of Show Birds, was published for the first time in Foam Magazine #24 / Talent. In 2005, Stephenson was one of the winners of the Jerwood Photography Award, and in 2006, he was selected to take part in the Festival International de Mode et de Photographie in Hyères. Today, we take another look at these popular birds. At Unseen Photo Fair, Luke Stephenson (1983) will be represented by The Photographers’ Gallery.
In an interview with Marc Feustel in Foam Magazine #24 / Talent, Stephenson commented on his first experience with photographing birds. In the series Budgies, "I was quite naïve thinking I could go along and have them sit on someone’s finger and just photograph them against a white wall," says Stephenson. "When I arrived for the first shoot, the owner told me that was never going to happen. Luckily he had a little cage to put them in and I was able to get some shots."
But how does one go about photographing birds? "The theory about photographing birds, is that they will go to the highest point they can find to sit on. So if you give them a box with a single highpoint to sit on, they will generally rest there," says Stephenson. And why birds? What is Stephenson looking for when taking those shots? "I'm just trying to show birds as they are. A lot of people never see birds from close up. It’s very simple really: I just want to show them at their best, to show how beautiful they are."
From the Incomplete Dictionary of Show Birds © Luke Stephenson/The Photographers' Gallery
Luke Stephenson will be represented by London-based The Photographers' Gallery at Unseen Photo Fair. The gallery is dedicated to providing free access for everyone to engage with photography, and continues to provide a unique platform for showcasing modern and contemporary work by British and international artists from its recently renovated building in central London. Read more about the gallery and represented photographers in our gallery spotlight.