I have recently completed a small series of black and white photographs of birds of prey, called Raptor. I was keen to get up close to these beautiful creatures, to take portraits of them almost as if they are human.
As with all my animal portraits, I want the viewer to look the individual subject in the eye and consider the consciousness and self-awareness of that animal and to contemplate what it feels as it looks back at us.
Research, which culminated in The Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness in 2012, states that there is evidence that birds appear to have “near human-like levels of consciousness” and that they (and Magpies in particular) have shown “some similarities to humans, great apes, dolphins and elephants in studies of mirror self-recognition.”
By photographing the birds mainly in black and white, I have sought to strip the portraits back as far as possible, to show the raw strength and power of each bird, and to capture the essence of the character of each one.
The yellow beak and rich chocolate-brown feathers of the majestic bald eagle look so striking, I have also released a special edition colour version of Bald Eagle in Profile.
The whole Raptor series can be viewed here.