Wildlife in art has been around for thousands of years with primitive examples of it seen in caves and on rock formations throughout the world. Centuries ago artists (who often doubled as ship’s doctors) were brought along on long voyages and expeditions with the intent of documenting previously undiscovered flora and fauna. With time these illustrators of natural history, armed only with graphite and paper, were replaced with cameras. Regardless of the medium, the creatures captured by an artist’s brush stroke or a photographer’s lens makes for strikingly beautiful studies in nature. Fine art photographer Deborah Samuel knows a thing or two about that.
The Extraordinary Beauty of Birds
This summer, Samuel published a book full of extraordinary images. Her subject matter? A dazzling array of colorful creatures adorned with bright feathers that nature lovers and bird watchers will surely enjoy. The book, The Extraordinary Beauty of Birds — Designs, Patterns and Details, presented by Prestel Publishing, offers readers a revealing look at the unique world of our avian friends from a fresh perspective. The images, ranging from the stark to the in depth and detailed, are captivating to look at. As the title suggests, readers are provided with a closer look at the designs, details and patterns that most of us overlook from afar.
From Ordinary to Extraordinary
What the majority of us miss when checking out our feathered friends is just how extraordinary even the most ordinary amongst them really are. With the right light, angle and focus Samuel brings to our attention the startling details that make them so exotic and unusual in their own right. Her photography is well known for capturing the spirit of her subjects, but seldom do these subjects come across so elegantly as when she’s working with birds. Each swirl of each feather is rich in texture and captures the viewer’s imagination, so much so that it’s easy to forget what you’re looking at.
Originally hailing from Vancouver, Canada, Deborah Samuel has previously published two photography books on dogs, for which she is well known, among other subject matter. Copies of her Dog and Pup (Chronicle and Raincoast) books have been extremely well received by the public and give us a glimpse into what really drives her — animals, wildlife, nature as a whole. This is also apparent in her Elegy compilation, which was influenced by the Gulf oil spill. In 2012, The Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto featured the work, a solo exhibition of subtle photographs of animal bones that highlight the fragility of life.
Deborah Samuel also uses her fine art instincts to shoot such varied topics as to include fashion, with much of her work ending up on the pages of Interview, Esquire, L.A. Style and G.Q. magazine. She has won awards for her photography and worked for Rolling Stone, Spin and Entertainment Weekly, in addition to directing music videos for various musicians and bands for numerous recording companies. If you’re interested in learning more about her or getting a closer look at her work, you can check her out at her official website here.