Leila Jeffreys takes us with this book into a journey through tropical forests and jungles all over the world towards astonishing bird species that she has been taking studio portraits of since 2008: “I’ve long noticed how many birds have specific expressions, just like us”, she explains. Jeffreys’ images, which rely on a profound connection with her sitters cultivated over many years, are an exercise in both artistry and empathy. Cultivating the art of waiting, Jeffreys develops a gallery of whimsical and hyper-realist portraits where all the birds come attired in their most beautiful finery with sumptuous plumage colors.
One by one, they let their character shine through: graceful, mischievous, shy, proud, timid, poseur, all of which seem to want to chat to the viewer. Her practice underlines how humans anthropomorphize animals and what we really do share. This publication is part of the Des oiseaux (On birds) collection celebrating, through the vision of different artists, their immense presence in a world where they are now vulnerable. Accompanying these photographs, the ornithologist Guilhem Lesaffre writes a special essay.