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Bird Watching

"These are pictures of birds the way they are supposed to be seen -- in well-rendered and compositionally balanced landscapes that showcased the birds like the jewels that they are."

Darius Himes, "Following Birds"
Bird Watching
by Paula McCartney
Princeton Architectural Press, 2010

At first inspection, this handsomely bound and finely printed volume of bird portraits taken in the wild comes across as
a personal birding journal, complete with hand-written observation notes on some three dozen passerine species, from the Northern Cardinal on the Oregon Coast to the Green-hooded Bandit in Minnesota.

Green-hooded Bandit? There is no such species, and the Northern Cardinal's range is nowhere near the Oregon Coast. And, looking more closely, there's something wrong with the birds in these photographs. They are too perfectly coifed, too perfectly arranged in the underbrush, and their legs are made of wires!

A sort of conceptual trompe l'oeil, this book imitates the birder's journal or the field guide in its elegant depictions of nature while slyly mocking their attempts at verisimilitude.

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