- Catalan photographer Xavi Bou captures images of huge flocks of birds.
- He has turned the images into a project called Ornitographies.
- The well-timed photos make the birds look like sculptures — and are absolutely mesmerizing.
- The photographer says he hopes to help people to rekindle their childlike curiosity for nature.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Most of us have seen large flocks of birds — and sometimes in interesting shapes, like the giant “V” formation geese fly in when migrating.
But odds are, most of us have never seem anything as spellbindingly strange as the moving sculpture-like formations of flocks of feathered fowl captured by Catalan photographer Xavi Bou.
For his project “Ornitographies,” Bou captured enormous flocks of birds in motion. Taken from a distance, the images are deliberately non-invasive, so as not to disturb the birds, and focus more on the collective flock and where they seem to be going rather than individual birds or how bright their feathers might be.
The result is a series of incredible images, with thousands upon thousands of birds combining into geometric shapes that seem to move right in front of the viewer’s eyes, even though the images don’t actually move.
“Most of them are captured throughout the territory of Catalonia, where I am originally from,” the photographer told Insider.
“One of the topics that interests me is to make visible that in our near environment we have more variety of fauna than most people imagine — we just have to pay attention. It is not necessary to travel to distant places to enjoy nature.
“Even so, I have traveled to several places in these years in search of specific situations, such as the migration of the Strait of Gibraltar in Spain, to the nesting cliffs of seabirds in Iceland, or the plains and mountains of Wyoming.”
According to the photographer, his interest in birds dates back to childhood walks with his grandfather.
“The first test was done in May of 2012,” he said, adding he began to work more deeply on the project beginning in 2015. “Actually, it’s almost my full time dedication. I keep making new ones, working on the future book, and researching for my future projects.”
And why birds, specifically? “Because when they fly, the movement they generate is much more complex and
interesting. The fact of being able to catch the birds in the sky causes the sky to become like a canvas, and that the record of this displacement is reflected as pincers.”
He hopes to ‘arouse curiosity for nature again’
As for what he hopes viewers take away from the images, he told Insider: “For me, for an artistic project, it’s very important that reading is open. That is to say that each person makes it their own, and ends up completing it. There are people who do a more scientific reading, another [might do a] more poetic [reading], and others think of the technique that has been used.”
He adds: “But what I would like them to take away is to arouse curiosity for nature again — we love
those we know and protect what we love.”
“With this project I have focused in many cases on common species and in places close to cities,” he said. “With this I want to encourage rediscovering [that] urban, or peri-urban, fauna is much richer than we think — it only requires awareness of what surrounds us.”