Des Oiseaux, Paolo Pellegrin

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Atelier EXB, 2021. First edition.
Hardcover, 104 pp., 44 b/w illustrations, 205 x 266 mm.
Photographs by Paolo Pellegrin. Text by Guilhem Lesaffre (English). 

This new series by Paolo Pellegrin celebrates the eleventh title of the collection Des oiseaux (On birds). Magnum photographer best known for his works testifying to political, economic or even ecological upheavals, his curious mind leads him to focus on subjects that are sometimes more contemplative, where nature holds a major place. Thus, during a stay in Japan in 2019, Paolo Pellegrin, who left to witness the blooming of the cherry trees, is more struck by the majesty and the aerial ballet of a colony of black kites flying over the temple of Shimogamo, Shinto shrine of the 7th century, in the heart of a primary forest.

He manages to capture the movements of this colony of eagles that flutter very close to his lens. Their dazzling speed is captured in tight frames: the birds seem to emerge from the frame or come out of it at full speed. The choreographies follow one another: as a soloist, in a duo or in a group, these fascinating birds of prey seem to slide through space.

This work is part of the Birds collection which celebrates, through the eyes of various artists, their immense presence in a world where they are today weakened. Ornithologist Guilhem Lesaffre offers a unique essay to accompany each photographic corpus. For this book, he tells us the story of the mythology of these raptors, the fascination they have exercised through the ages in the artistic field and their way of life by paying particular attention to the species of black kites photographed by Pellegrin.


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