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Greg Williams Photographed Zendaya with a Remote iPhone for Vogue

Greg Williams Photographed Zendaya with a Remote iPhone for Vogue

Celebrity fashion and portrait photographer Greg Williams recently photographed Zendaya for British Vogue through a virtual photoshoot. He used the virtual photo app CLOS, which allowed him to control her smartphone from the other side of the world.

Virtual or remote shoots gained popularity during the height of pandemic lockdowns when photographers found themselves forced to come up with innovative ideas to continue pursuing their hobby or profession. In March, PetaPixel shared how to do remote shoots using Zoom to capture screenshots and how to control the subject’s DSLR remotely (also via a Zoom call). Meanwhile, others, such as photographer Alessio Albi, turned to Facebook’s video call alternative — FaceTime.

Although face-to-face shoots have now resumed to a certain capacity around the world, there is still time and place for virtual shoots, Williams proves. He photographed Zendaya from the comfort of his home in England while she posed for him in Atlanta, Georgia in the USA.

In the 1-minute video above (spotted by DIYP), Williams shares how he created remote portraits of Zendaya by controlling her iPhone 12 Pro Max camera.

Williams explains that Zendaya’s assistant was holding her phone while Williams directed the composition and her posing. Before the start of the shoot, Zendaya’s assistant also walked him through the house to show different rooms and give Williams an idea of where Zendaya’s wardrobe choice would work best.

The final image was published as a full-page spread as part of Vogue’s 2021 Hollywood Portfolio, which also featured 27 of the world’s biggest stars like Kate Winslet, Rashida Jones, Viola Davis, Tom Holland, and others. Although the Vogue feature was published in March 2021, Williams released the behind-the-scenes video on YouTube and TikTokk only earlier this month.

As technology, and smartphone cameras, in particular, advance, remote shooting is not to be dismissed and can become a part of a modern photographer’s workflow. Apple’s recent collaboration with photographer Mark Clennon shows that powerful portraiture can be achieved with smartphones and if the resulting quality is good enough for a major fashion publication like Vogue, it’s something that other photographers can consider, too.

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Beautiful New Species of Jellyfish Photographed 2,300 Feet Under the Sea

Beautiful New Species of Jellyfish Photographed 2,300 Feet Under the Sea

Beautiful New Species of Jellyfish Photographed 2,300 Feet Under the Sea 1

As part of a 2021 North Atlantic Stepping Stones expedition, what is called a potentially “unknown” or “undescribed” red jellyfish in the genus Poralia was captured on camera. The disk-shaped red jellyfish was found floating nearly 2,300 feet below the surface.

An “undescribed” species is the term scientists use to classify a creature that has never received a specific name in a formal scientific publication and is, therefore, previously unknown to scientists.

Quinn Girasek, an intern and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Hollings Scholar with the NOAA Ocean Exploration organization describes the find as part of her role annotating the water column dive that took place in late July.

“As a Hollings intern, I am conducting research to further our understanding of previously unexplored ocean habitats,” she explains. “My project this summer focuses on the abundance of organisms within the mesopelagic, or twilight zone (200 to 1,000 meters/ 656 to 3,281 feet depth) in the Atlantic Ocean around the Gulf Stream and within the deep scattering layer.”

The red jellyfish is one of the species that Girasek cataloged as part of her research. This beautiful red creature in the genus Poralia is described as one that may be a previously unknown species and was seen during the third transect of Dive 20 of the 2021 North Atlantic Stepping Stones expedition, at a depth of 700 meters (2,297 feet).

“Overall, a variety of animals were seen, like ctenophores, cnidarians, crustaceans, and Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes). We also saw several undescribed families and potential new species,” she continues.

In the image below, the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) Deep Discoverer is shown collecting the potentially new species of jellyfish, which also gives a sense of scale to the creature. For reference, the ROV is 10 feet long, 6.5 feet wide, and 8.5 feet tall.

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A total of four samples were collected during Dive 20 of the 2021 North Atlantic Stepping Stones expedition using the suction sample on remotely operated vehicle (ROV) Deep Discoverer. Here, Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration ROV pilots deftly maneuver to collect a potential new species of jellyfish during the 1200-meter (3,937-foot) dive transect.

Deep Discoverer is capable of diving to a depth of 3.7 miles (6,000 meters) and can capture high-definition video and uses a set of 20 LED lights to fire 150,000 lumens of light into the darkness of the ocean’s depths.

The final dive of the 2021 North Atlantic Stepping Stones expedition was dedicated to the exploration of the water column within Hydrographer Canyon through two series of transects. The first series involved transects at depths of 300, 500, 700, and 900 meters (984, 1,640, 2,297, and 2,953 feet) and the second series started with a transect within the bathypelagic or midnight zone of the ocean at 1,200 meters (3,937 feet) depth and was followed by a transect at a depth of 630 meters (2,067 feet), within the area’s “deep scattering layer” (DSL). The DSL is a region in the water column where there is such a high density of marine organisms that they generate their own sonar signal.

The “deep scattering layer” is a term used by those using active acoustics in the open ocean as a phenomenon that occurs between about 400 and 600 meters (1,312 to 1,969 feet) depth in our geographic region of study. As described by NOAA Hollings Undergraduate Scholar Herbert Leavitt, typically this layer is seen when the sound waves come into contact with a high density of mesopelagic fish or other organisms that live at depth during the day and migrate towards the surface at night to feed.

Many other creatures were observed during the expedition, and while the red jellyfish is the only one that is called out as “undescribed” or undiscovered, there are a host of others that can be seen in detail in images and video from the NOAA.

Image and video credits: Video and images courtesy of NOAA Ocean Exploration, 2021 North Atlantic Stepping Stones: New England and Corner Rise Seamounts.

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An Interview With Jenny Lam: A Long-Form Project Photographed Entirely on a Smartphone

An Interview With Jenny Lam: A Long-Form Project Photographed Entirely on a Smartphone

Most of us have smartphones these days, and all of us with these smartphones have used the camera function on them. Every few years, when a new phone is released, the camera is often marketed with images taken on the phone.

In her series, “Mobile,” Jenny Lam decided to take this to a whole other level by creating a long-form project spanning nearly seven years of curated images from 2014-2021, the caveat with her series, of course, being that they were all photographed on her smartphone!

I feel like I wear many hats!

Jenny is a Chicago-based visual artist. Her main mediums are drawing and illustration, but also sculpture, installations, and writing. In addition to this, she curates independent art shows. From her long list of talents, her main passion is curating art shows. She enjoys the community aspect as well as helping others shine through their work.

An Interview With Jenny Lam: A Long-Form Project Photographed Entirely on a Smartphone 3

Jenny mentions that she brings a lot of her visual arts background to the images she photographs — a specific way of seeing and framing things. The things she draws and the things she photographs are stylistically similar with each medium being a different way to see the world and express herself.

I was very stubborn about not getting a smartphone for a very long time.

Sometimes, a series of images is created with the intention to create a particular body of work. “Mobile” did not necessarily begin this way. Instead, Jenny’s first real camera was a simple point-and-shoot. She enjoyed the fact that it was light and flexible and she could take it with her almost anywhere. Once she finally purchased her smartphone in 2014, she realized that the smartphone camera was also as good for the types of images she was making.

In her own words, she became a “one woman tourist bureau” for Chicago. The series started, and essentially ended, in Chicago. However, it does include other images from travels abroad. She focused on creating images that were like tourist photos, but from the perspective of someone who lived there natively. She chose to share locations or ideas that were a bit more hidden or not as seen. This way of highlighting lesser-known locations is a carryover from the way she sees the world. For example, Jenny mentions that she prefers to write about lesser-known art shows that may be happening. Or when she curates works herself, she prefers to include lesser-known artists.

It’s more about the artist behind the camera. It’s not about the camera itself.

Working with the smartphone offers a certain immediacy. She wasn’t waiting for hours for images to appear like some street photographers. Additionally, unlike some traditionalists working with film (or even digitally), she wasn’t dedicating time to developing film or even retouching digital files.

It was another way to make myself take better photos.

Given her camera choice, she also had to be intentional with the images she did photograph because of the limited storage she was working with. Given the planned obsolescence of modern smartphones, Jenny was very aware of battery life and storage as well. These weren’t challenges but rather constraints to work within for her series.

The lifecycle of my phone died ‘at the right time.’

Much the same way the project began, the project ended with a surprise software update to her phone. To clarify, her phone had stopped receiving updates a long time prior due to its age. However, its crash coincided with a recent Apple update. The two events were correlated, but one didn’t necessarily cause the other. She had already been thinking about putting together a collection of images she had worked on. Once the phone died, it was a serendipitous way to end the collection.

What sets this series of images apart from those on most peoples’ camera phones is the intent. Jenny worked with the intention to not only capture a certain type of image but then took the extra step to curate the images in a way to show a specific visual narrative.

The work isn’t about any particular image, even though the individual images are amazing on their own. But rather the work speaks to multiple other ways of viewing: it’s about finding beauty in the lesser-known and taking the time to explore the world around us, but also about appreciating what we do have and working within the confines of what we have at hand. The series speaks beautifully to rejecting social norms and embracing a culture of fixing and embracing things that don’t work perfectly rather than simply throwing them out and getting a new one.

Images provided by Jenny Lam. Used with permission.

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What I Photographed When My Pet Died

What I Photographed When My Pet Died

It’s difficult when a pet dies, but as photographers, we can choose to honor our loved ones with photos that will last forever. Here’s what I chose to photograph when my pet died.

We’ve been keeping grasshoppers for about six months now after I found out about a Korean study on the effects of pet insects on cognitive function among the elderly. We’d originally bought them for an elderly relative that was struggling with anxiety and depression through the lockdown period here in the UK. The study had shown that keeping crickets helped to lift the mood and give purpose to the elderly that were otherwise struggling with mental health or feeling lonely. However, they weren’t quite suitable for our relatives, so we ended up keeping them at my home.

It’s been six months now, and one of the last grasshoppers passed away during the second lockdown, and though some may quaff at the fact that it’s “just an insect,” the animal had still spent a significant amount of time with us, and it hurt. So, to honor the time we had with the hopper, I decided to cherish it through photography.

When the grasshopper died, nothing much changed about its appearance. Its color was dimmed, and it no longer moved, but other than that, the exoskeleton looked almost identical to when it was alive. So, I felt comfortable photographing the tiny little details on its body that I’d previously not been able to look at closely without it hopping away.

Face to Face

Though I’d spent hours looking at the hopper through the glass tank, I’d never really got a close look at its face. So I put on my Nikon 24mm f/2.8D, reversed it, and mounted a Yongnuo YN685 on a flash bracket with a homemade diffuser. With this technique, I was able to get extremely close to the hopper. I had such magnification that I was able to look into its eyes and capture the ommatidia (lenses) in its compound eye.

Lattice of Beauty

Using the same technique as before, I wanted to capture its wings. The grasshoppers, when I bought them from the pet shop, were small juveniles that grew over time. Animals with exoskeletons don’t grow like us vertebrates, they molt their external shell and grow in stages (aka instars). In their final growth instar, the hoppers become adults and turn into locusts where they have sexual organs and wings.

It was difficult to capture this photographically because of the inherently shallow depth of field that comes with macrophotography. So, I set an aperture of f/11 on the reversed lens, then set about shooting the wing straight-on so that it was flat towards the lens, thereby maximizing the sharpness of the wing against the depth of field. I rocked back and forth to manually focus and waited until the wing was sharp before firing off one or two shots at a time.

Some of the hoppers didn’t make it to adulthood, and others sadly passed away during the molting process, so this was one of only two that made it through to have a full set of wings. I didn’t photograph its wings when it was alive, because if it escaped outside, it could have a catastrophic effect on our wildlife (these hoppers aren’t native to the UK), so it was only in death I could capture the true beauty of their adult wings. I was blown away at how intricate their latticing was across the wing. Even the dark markings seemed to seep through the veins and wing cells. I think it looks a bit like a tennis racket that’s been soaked in soap and water, something I never would’ve seen with the naked eye.

Scaling Skyscrapers

I’d often wondered over the last six months just how the grasshoppers could scale the sides of the glass tank without anything to hold onto. It’s like walking up the outside of a skyscraper with suction pads attached to your hands and feet. It would effortlessly just wander around on the sides or upside down on the roof without a struggle. I wanted to take a closer look at its feet with this macro setup, and I’m very thankful I did.

Without shooting a macro image of this grasshopper, I never would’ve known how it scaled those glass walls. But taking a closer look through my lens, I discovered that there’s a series of what appear to be sticky pads on the bottom among several sharp, claw-like protrusions that look similar to a bird’s foot. No wonder it could hang upside down without a problem.


It was through this process of photographing my deceased friend that I got to know it a little better. I could imagine what it would feel like to scale a sheer vertical wall with no footholds and how it must’ve felt to be looking around its enclosure and out the window with multiple lenses for eyes. Though it never used its wings for flight, I managed to find out just how beautiful my pet was through the miracle of photography. It’s for this deeper connection and time-traveling medium that I’m eternally grateful to photography.

If I hadn’t taken the time to learn how to set my aperture or which shutter speed I should set when shooting with off-camera flash, I never would’ve had the opportunity to capture my little friend in such glorious detail. As I get older and my eyesight worsens, I’m sure I’ll be relying on the technological advances of photography to capture the things I love around me and get to know them a little more. Through the lens, I find myself looking more deeply at the things around me, and it’s something I encourage many others to take up, whether as a form of meditation or simply to reconnect with the wild world around you. Though morbid as photographing a dead pet may seem, on this occasion, it’s helped me say goodbye and appreciate all its intricate beauty that I never had the opportunity to find when it was alive.

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Scientists Photographed Our ‘Galactic Bulge’ Using a Dark Energy Camera

Scientists Photographed Our 'Galactic Bulge' Using a Dark Energy Camera

Scientists Photographed Our 'Galactic Bulge' Using a Dark Energy Camera 4

In an effort to research how the center of the Milky Way Galaxy formed what is known as a “galactic bulge,” Scientists used a Dark Energy Camera to survey a portion of the sky and capture a photo of billions of stars.

NASA’s Hubblesite describes our galaxy as “shaped like two fried eggs glued back-to-back.” This depiction makes clear the central bulge of stars that sits in the middle of a sprawling disk of stars that we usually see in two-dimensional drawings. You can get a better idea of how that looks thanks to a rendering from the ESA below:

Scientists Photographed Our 'Galactic Bulge' Using a Dark Energy Camera 7

This makeup is thought to be a common feature among myriad spiral galaxies like the Milky Way, and scientists desired to study how the bulge was formed. Were the stars within the bulge born early in our galaxy’s history, 10 to 12 billion years ago, or did the bulge build up over time through multiple episodes of star formation?

“Many other spiral galaxies look like the Milky Way and have similar bulges, so if we can understand how the Milky Way formed its bulge then we’ll have a good idea for how the other galaxies did too,” said co-principal investigator Christian Johnson of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland.

The team surveyed a portion of our sky covering more than 200 square degrees – an area approximately equivalent to 1,000 full Moons – using the Dark Energy Camera (DECam) on the Victor M. Blanco 4-meter Telescope at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile, a Program of NSF’s NOIRLab.

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This image shows a wide-field view of the center of the Milky Way with a pull-out image taken by the DECam.

The scientific sensor array on the DECam is made up of 62 separate 2048×4096 pixel backside-illuminated CCD sensors, totaling 520 megapixels. An additional 12 2048×2048 pixel CCD sensors (50 megapixels) are used to guide the telescope, monitor focus, and help with alignment.

This wide-field camera is capable of capturing 3 square degrees of sky in a single exposure and allowed the team to collect more than 450,000 individual photographs. From that data the team was able to determine the chemical compositions for millions of stars. The image below contains billions of stars:

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You can view a pannable and zoomable version of this image here. It uses the same interface as the giant 2.5 gigapixel image of the Orion Constellation taken by Matt Harbison.

For this particular study, scientists looked at a subsample of 70,000 stars from the above image. It had been previously believed that the stars in the bulge were born in two separate “waves” early in the history of the galaxy, but thanks to data gleaned from the study, now scientists think that a vast majority were formed at about the same time nearly 10 billion years ago.

According to Nasa, the researchers are looking into the possibility of measuring stellar distances to make a more accurate 3D map of the bulge. They also plan to seek correlations between their metallicity measurements and stellar orbits. That investigation could locate “flocks” of stars with similar orbits, which could be the remains of disrupted dwarf galaxies or identify signs of accretion like stars orbiting opposite the galaxy’s rotation.

(Via Hubblesite and SyFy)

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How I Photographed a 70s Beauty Shoot on 3 Dollars

How I Photographed a 70s Beauty Shoot on 3 Dollars

For the bulk of my career, I’ve operated on single-light photography for my projects while many others relied on multiple heads. This video is for the photographer eager to start and they think it requires a stockpile of gear. It’s to remind them they can operate on a lot less and start sooner if you have a clear direction with your concept.

Have a Concept

Clear concepts are vital to executing your vision. As a creative mind, we are easily tempted to change paths midway and try something new. While that can be a fun exercise, it does not contribute to the overall goal of your shoot: to keep on the theme for a particular project.

Another reason for having a clear direction of your creativity is to keep the crew on the same road to success. Many times a makeup artist might have a spark of creativity that’s outside your vision. That’s great and we want to encourage creative detours, but not when we have a clear goal to accomplish. In my case, I wanted a 70s themed beauty shoot that relied equally on shadows as it did with light. I wanted a heavy mirrored them, many reflections and geometric shapes.

One way that I keep focusing on the goal is to rely on a mood board shared with every member of my team, including the model. In the case of this shoot, the concept was a late 60s and early 70s natural look. We aimed at natural hair, strong makeup, and colors that complemented an era.   

When I have a new idea, I’ll reference check it against the board. Is it a “right now” idea, or can it be saved as a reference for a future shoot? Know when to veto and use your power of veto!

Have Flexibility

Just like I urge the photographer to stay on the path, I equally urge them to be open to different ways of getting there. In the video you will that I attempted many lighting modifiers to accomplish the aesthetic. I tried a softbox but the mood wasn’t right. I tried a beauty dish and it reminded me of the 90s. Finally, I pulled out the honeycomb grid and found the right look!

It’s important to stay flexible while staying within the creative lane you set out to tackle. It’s a fine dance and requires internal dialogue can be entertaining. I only ask that you remain open to last minute ideas!

Have Direction to Share

Once you have a clear direction and a proven method of accomplishing your goal, it’s time to share directly with the crew and talent. You’ll see that I speak with the model constantly, and even give her breaks throughout the session to review the images together.

If I can share photographs in the middle of a shoot, I will easily gain more confidence with the talent. It’s common to say “when you do this, it looks better than when you do this look. Here’s an example of that” — speak to them. Models are not mind readers, and neither are the glam team. Show them what you want, and then sit back and let them give you the creativity you’re seeking!

Less is More

You don’t need a lot. In fact, look at the setup in the video and see how it could have been accomplished in any small room or garage. The mirrors in my photographs cost me $3 and we had our entire prop set. Creativity can live anywhere, just start. 

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Maine Resident Has Photographed Nearly Every Local Sunrise For Seven Years

Maine Resident Has Photographed Nearly Every Local Sunrise For Seven Years

In what has been the feel-good story of the day, Maine photographer Rick Barber was recently featured on his local news for his efforts to photograph and share the sunrise from his home of Ogunquit for the past seven years.

“There’s something about the start of the day. lt’s a way that one can get going again and to watch the sun come means that we have another day given to us to do good things for each other,” Barber told News Center Maine.

His photo endeavors apparently started a few years ago when he started tweeting them at local weathermen and other reports he met. His photos would occasionally be shared by not only the local news but as far away as Boston or even on the Weather Channel.

According to the story, Barber only recently started considering himself a photographer, citing that he was “just a guy who took the pictures.” Barber has done his best to photograph every sunrise, missing only a few. When he is on vacation, he still photographs whatever sunrise he can see from wherever he is, but told News Center Maine that Ogunquit is still his favorite.

I have to say, there is something particularly uplifting about scrolling either his public Facebook album or Twitter feed. For nearly as long as you can keep swiping, you will be greeted with sunrise after sunrise. “This year especially more people weren’t able to come to Ogunquit or Maine … so a lot of people are telling me how much the pictures mean because they’re able to experience being here without being here and feeling a little less lonely at home and that just warms my heart,” Barber said.

If you’re in need of a smile today, take a scroll through Barber’s photos, as they are sure to please. Barber has described his practice as a “spiritual experience,” and part of that is sharing his images with others. I for one, am happy to oblige him.

(Via News Center Maine)

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New book reveals WW2 – as photographed by German soldiers

New book reveals WW2 - as photographed by German soldiers

A fascinating new book of German wartime photography gives an insight into the daily lives of soldiers during WWII – through the lenses of the German soldiers themselves.

In September 1939, thousands of German soldiers were turned loose on Poland. In 1940, they descended on Holland, Belgium and France. In 1941 they went to the Balkans, and then to the USSR. Unlike the British, many of these soldiers from everyday walks of life who were conscripted especially for the invasion of USSR, were already familiar with Leica and Rolleiflex cameras.New book reveals WW2 - as photographed by German soldiers 16Whilst some of these soldiers were officially commissioned as photographers, others were asked by their commanders to take records of events. Among them were trainees who knew about the Bauhaus, and other, older, men who could remember Weimar. Some excelled at formal portraiture, others were storytellers, stylists or humanists who wept at what they saw. The style and content of their work changed along with the collective mood after 1942, a change that is discernible in the photographs themselves.

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Author and art historian Ian Jeffrey – author of How to Read a Photograph and The Photography Book – has trawled through these personal albums, from the collection of the Archive of Modern Conflict (Canada), picking out the most compelling of these works and showing them for the first time in the book.

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“The book looks at first sight like a war book but it is also an art book,” he explains. “My focus is the ordinary people behind the camera, the outsiders enlisted in a vast open-ended experiment that resulted in catastrophe. A lot of the personnel were killed or badly wounded, and many of them left no details so it has taken years of researching landscapes, bridges and inscriptions on signposts and memorials, deciphering old handwriting and scrawled Sutterlin script to find the story behind each photo and photographer.”

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All at War: Photography by German Soldiers 1939-45 is onsale now from a wide range of booksellers. Watch out for a review in AP soon. 

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Portraits of Birds Photographed like Humans

Portraits of Birds Photographed like Humans

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Australian fine art photographer Leila Jeffreys has been shooting studio portraits of birds since 2008. In addition to capturing the beautiful plumage across various species, Jeffreys also shows how birds can have expressions that are strangely humanlike.

“I’ve long noticed how many birds have specific expressions, just like us”, the photographer says.

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Jeffreys has spent years researching and exploring the world of birds alongside conservationists, ornithologists, and sanctuaries. After finding her subjects, she works to develop an “intimate” relationship with them before they go before her camera.

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“[Jeffreys] is best known for visceral and mysterious images of birds that explore and subvert the traditions of portraiture,” writes Australian writer Neha Kale. “Her avian subjects are photographed at human scale with a startling attention to color, line, form and composition.

“For Jeffreys, birds are both medium and message. Her practice opens windows into critical questions about the shared anthropomorphism that connects humans with animals, the sense of wildness that tugs at the fringes of everyday existence and the fleeting and precious connections that bind us to the natural world.”

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For her latest project and exhibition, titled High Society, Jeffreys photographed budgies in pairs and groups to show the flock societies birds create.

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Many of her portraits have just been published in a new photo book titled Des oiseaux. The hardcover book features 47 photos across 96 pages and is available for €35 (~$41) through the publisher Atelier EXB.

You can find more of Jeffreys’ work on her website and Instagram.

(via Leila Jeffreys via Colossal)

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