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Bird by Andrew Zuckerman: high-definition pictures of birds captured against a white background
Renowned photographer Andrew Zuckerman travelled across four countries over a year to photograph the 74 birds which feature in his book, Bird. Using a mobile studio with a huge white background, New Yorker Zuckerman, 32, caught his feathery subjects with a high-definition camera as bird handlers coaxed them in front of his lens
Using a 33-Megapixel Leaf Aptus 75S digital camera along with high-speed strobe lighting, he was able to freeze the birds in action, capturing their expressions and vivid colours
He said: "Birds have some of the most extraordinary ranges of colour in their bodies. Sometimes they are colours that you don't see anywhere else in nature, whether in the animal kingdom or even flowers"
Bird is the third book published by Zuckerman. He received critical acclaim after the worldwide release of his first title Creature - similar to Bird in that it showed a series of animals shot against a white background. In Wisdom, his second release produced with the cooperation of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, he shot portraits of celebrities, politicians and other famous people against the same blank white backdrop
"When you take anything out of its con**** and put it against a white background you see something different," he said. It forces all attention on the subject. Most of the work I do is shot against white. It's the absence of space and colour. It forces the eye right onto the subject. In the end, all you're left with is the form and range of colours contained in the subject"
For each of the photographs Zuckerman and his team erected the white backdrop - sometimes in a studio or sometimes in the middle of a zoo - and waited while handlers used various methods to encourage them into position. In some, food was placed on one side of the screen while the bird was perched at the other. On a mission to grab its snack, the animal would fly across the set with waiting Zuckerman grabbing the action
"Using a very fast camera and very fast flash. I was able to freeze those moments, a gesture or flick of the wings, that are usually impossible to see. Birds are so fast you normally just get to see a flash of a shape and colour. With this equipment I was able to pick out those hidden expressions and offer a view that you can't normally achieve," he said
Zuckerman has been fascinated with birds since his early childhood and says he regularly visits New York's American Museum of Natural History to observe its birds. "I like to think of my work as 2D taxidermy," he said. "To create a living record of the subject that will remain forever"
The book represents the "pinnacle" of his bird project.
A Green Magpie
A Roseate Spoonbill
An Andean Condor
A Lears Macaw
An American Kestrel
A Peregrine Falcon
An East African Crowned Crane
The cover of Andrew Zuckerman's book Bird, featuring an East African Crowned Crane
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