Birds of a Feather



White Peacock No. 9490
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“Claire Rosen gratifies both our fascination with flight and the appeal of things rare and mysterious in her impeccably crafted photographs of exotic tropical birds. With a larger-than-life scale that highlights their delicate, vibrant splendor and pert, inquisitive nature, the inherent contradiction of a wild creature perched in a studio-lit setting is quelled by Rosen’s aesthetic and emotional equilibrium.”
— Elin Spring


Humankind has always had a complicated relationship with nature, characterized by awe and admiration, tension and destruction. The human desire to be surrounded by images of nature has been replicated in household ornamentation throughout civilizations. The walls of the imperial villas of Ancient Rome were adorned with frescoes detailing rich flora and fauna. During the Renaissance, Rafael reinvented this ancient style through his grotesques, which depict birds, fruits, and plant life. Carefully crafted representations of the natural world were re- imagined yet again in 19th century Britain when William Morris began producing richly ornamented wallpaper featuring wild birds and vegetation.

Birds of a Feather offers a new perspective on this tradition with portraits of live birds - from the common Parakeet to the exotic Hyacinth Macaw to the stoic Gyrfalcon - photographed against complementary historical and reproduction wallpaper and fabric from the Victorian Era. As the cult of colonization and exploration spread during the Victorian Era in Europe, it yielded brutal discovery and domination of faraway places, creatures and cultures. As these discoveries made their way back to Europe, aviary collection and display as well as a general fascination with the natural world and its exotic inhabitants rose in fashion. This series references that desire to possess the beautiful, wild and exotic, a possession that permanently changes the object of desire through its dislocation. The backgrounds in this series are selected to induce beauty, optical illusion and visual blending, the birds appear to belong when in reality it is a far cry from their natural environment. The birds mirror the careful, self-conscious poses of humans in an unexpected way. Posed, the birds anthropomorphize as we attribute human emotion and intent to their expressions.

Fancy Pigeon No. 9643
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Fancy Pigeon No. 9643
from 125.00