" . . . This chaotic rainbow perimeter plays foil to the calm images of the perfectly spread luna moth and damselfly, transforming them into kept secrets. A slight imprecision in registration of the colors lends an animate blur to the nocturnal moth, which must vibrate its wings to heat up its flight muscles in the absence of radiant sunlight . . . "
I began this ongoing series in 2011, almost by accident.
The waxwings started flying, one right after another it seemed, into a bank of new windows we had just had installed in our house. A friend told me a story that when birds see themselves through a window, they are unaware that what they see is their own reflection. She told me that they don't necessarily want to attack, thinking other birds have entered their territory; rather, they can see a far more beautiful landscape that they want to inhabit, so they try to fly into it-- to become one with that other landscape. At a gallery opening in Oregon where I showed some of these, an ornithologist I met there told me that waxwings tend to get quite drunk on all sorts of berries that first come out in the spring and summer. They become dizzy and disoriented and fly into the windows-- all from simply eating too many berries.
Of course, none of us really knows what these birds think when they see their reflections, but I'm going with the almost fairy-tale like description of the urge to enter a foreign and seemingly more desirable world.
Most of these waxwings were still warm when I discovered them by the side of the house. I carefully laid them on a backdrop and photographed them. I then printed their images in tri-color gum bichromate, layer upon layer. I did the same for the luna moth, the damselfly, and the long-ago abandoned nest. I found them all to take on a wholly different meaning when given a simple backdrop and taken out of context, like "kept secrets."
Please click on each image for a larger view and details.