In short

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An Incomplete Dictionary of Show Birds is a study of a hobby that to most people is a hidden world. It began with the very simple idea of photographing budgies, influenced by prize pigeon photography. Upon entering this world Luke Stephenson discovered a whole range of wonderfully colourful and interesting birds and the hobby of bird keeping that he began to learn about, soon it had sucked him in and he became fascinated with it.

During a three-year period he photographed birds and met a great deal of people (mostly men) who were very enthusiastic about their hobby, many of whom had been keeping birds their whole lives and were extremely knowledgeable and happy to share.

This became very infectious and turned the photographer into a sort of collector of birds himself, although not as an owner or breeder, but simply by photographing a certain species and adding it to his collection, which allowed him to tick a bird from his self-imposed list.

After a first foray of 3 years photographing birds he recently returned to the project for a second volume and so has spent 10 years on and off photographing these lovely creatures.

The process involved in photographing these birds begins with a lot of research and cold calling various people to gain permission to photograph their birds. A special box which acts as a bird studio allows the photographer to control the lighting and also allows him to change the coloured background to compliment the subject. The bird studio allows a consistency to the photographs which is important as the project has been spread out over 10 years.

Luke Stephenson has travelled extensively around Britain to photograph these birds and more recently he has been travelling around Europe, mainly in The Netherlands where the hobby is very popular and also has a lot more variety than in Britain.


Luke Stephenson, An Incomplete Dictionary of Show Birds
April 1 to 23, 2017
Square des Batignoles
75017 Paris

This exhibition is part of Mois de la Photo-OFF.

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