For my fourth Curated gift I present a signed and numbered edition of: An Incomplete Dictionary of Show Birds by photographer Luke Stephenson. London-based design studio YES collaborated with the photographer for this project which documents the fascinating (British) culture of show birds.
What attracts me to the book in the first place is it’s explicit quality of exposing the wonderful aesthetic of nature. Stephenson succeeded in creating a series of photographs catching the essence of the depicted birds in color and form like it was done in formal portraits of monarchs during previous centuries. The birds are depicted on mono colored backgrounds resulting in a great contrast with the many visible colors and shapes of the birds, creating an overall aesthetic reminiscent of fashion photography. Stephenson made nature into fashion.
The book also fixates my love for collecting. Like Stephenson mentions in the foreword about his collecting of birds to photograph; “it started innocent but quickly evolved into an obsession.” To me that is the essence of collecting. Continuing to dig deeper, striving for perfection; the complete image. The bitterness felt by Stephenson when he, due to absence of equipment, was not able to photograph a particular bird that died a week later and the quest of two years to find that same particular bird is the ultimate example of a collector and his heartfelt need to expand his collection.
We truly hope that the collection of Stephenson sparks a need for collecting by it’s reader as well as it continues to trigger my own, it is an Incomplete collection after all..
My Curated subscribers received the exclusive copy, numbered and signed by Stephenson this week, others can find more information and order here.