Title: Forms of murmurations
I want to describe the murmurations of starlings as an elegant dance. There’s certainly something mesmerizing in how these birds move – a vast, impromptu choreography, each bird part of something vastly bigger than themselves. The colossal organic shapes that form have an inherent beauty, but here we see many unexpected coincidences. Photographed all my murmurations series against a flat, cloudless sky the resulting images are undiluted. Sparse and beautiful, letting place for a lot of interpretations. The dawn cream color palette for my calligraphic photographs is based on the works of surrealist painter René Magritte and the master Irving Penn. I have spent more than 200 hours on the field chasing and photographing the starlings, all of the scenes are real.
The term “murmuration” comes from the fact that thousands of wings flapping at once give a murmur-like sound. Grouping together offers safety in numbers – predators such as peregrine falcons find it hard to target one bird in the middle of a hypnotising flock of thousands. The starlings also gather to keep warm at night and to exchange information, such as good feeding areas. I always search where their roosting site could be, this is where they perform their wheeling stunts before they roost for the night. There is no leader in a murmuration, the flock behaves as one single entity. To stay united through the different escape patterns, each bird tracks and mimics the behavior of seven neighbors. The group can adapt quickly by focusing on a fixed number of birds, becoming dense or sparse, splitting and changing shape. Starling murmurations occur mostly at dusk, when the birds gather together for the night. With these series I want to reveal the hidden beauty of common things shown from an unusual perspective of an elegant dance.