Expressive Bird Portraits Photography

by Diana I

Tim’s Bird Pictures

Tim Flach offers a wide variety of bird portraits with incredible levels of expression and color. He likes to show off each bird species’ bold features and characteristics while delivering unique subtleties that provide the impression of individualized personality.

Flach is based in London. His work typically focuses on the vulnerable or endangered species found throughout the world. He also says that the photographs he takes work to explore the perpetual divide that exists between sentient beings.

His goal is simple: to catch the wonderment and awe that exists in the present moment. Flach feels that there is always a little uncertainty in his portraits that reveals themselves to each viewer.

When you’re looking at the bird portraits in his images, Flach hopes that you can also get a glimpse into how you see yourself and other people.

Almost all of his photographs are taken with a Hasselblad H4D-60 camera. Flach also uses Broncolor packs for extra flexibility and fast-flash duration.

The Toco Toucans bill
The Toco Toucans bill

Flach’s Birds Have Portraits Human-Like Qualities

One of the best-known photographic portraits from Tim Flach is that of a Peruvian Inca tern. What stands out about the image immediately is the mustache that extends from the side of the beak, right above what looks to be a yellow mouth.

The feathers are offered in a hyper-realistic display, with colors that seem to pop right out at the viewer. Even the look on the bird’s face as it looks directly into the camera’s lens appears to communicate confidence and intelligence.

Flach calls the Peruvian Inca tern the “Salvador Dali of the bird world” as part of the photograph’s description. The more extended mustache on the bird is evidence of a stronger immune system, making the fellow more attractive as a potential mate.

Flach has also taken vivid portraits of cockatoos, Egyptian vultures, and everything in-between.

According to Flach, his work aims to reduce the differences that people see between the two species. If humans can identify with their avian companions, it becomes easier to save animals at risk of extinction.

Although the artist admits that people can see his work as anthropomorphic, the goal of his artistry is to explore anthropocentrism. How do humans center themselves in relation to their animal companions?

Why do we make ourselves the center of the universe when so many other species share our home?

The Gouldian finch
The Gouldian finch

Get to Know the Artist a Little Better

Tim Flach was born in London, which is where he continues to live and work with his family. His studio is in Shoreditch, which is found in the East End.

When Flach takes his aviary pictures, the techniques he uses are closer to what photographers employ when taking human portraits. Although he does snap some pics of the animals in their native habitat (his book Endangered from 2017 provides numerous examples), most of what he creates feels like it comes directly from the studio.

“I drew and painted as a child,” Flach says on his website, “but it wasn’t until I did a one year foundation course before university, at age 18, that I actually picked up a camera. It was for a project I was given, and I shot a roll of film at London Zoo. However, ten years passed before I was in a better position to more proactively choose the subjects that I shot without worrying too much about paying the bills.”

Flach says that he started photographing animals because he enjoyed the controlled chaos of the experience.

Flach has also had his work appear in several publications over the years, including The New Scientist, National Geographic, The New Work Times, and The Guardian. Several organizations have invited him to lecture about his talent, including the Zoological Society of London.

He’s an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, and the University of the Arts London awarded him with an honorary doctorate in 2013.

Flach’s images are not 100% natural. He admits to using Photoshop on almost every bird portrait so that the tonal qualities of each picture match the viewer’s expectations. His goal is to draw the eye toward a specific point so that reflection can occur.

Flach last held an exhibition in 2019 at Opio, featuring 20 photographs shot globally to challenge individual perspectives and encourage positive action.

Tim Flach currently has several published books available for sale to explore more of his work. You can also stay connected on Instagram, where you’ll find interesting and idiosyncratic details about his bird portraits.

Blue Bird
Blue Bird
Cockatoos Crest
Cockatoos Crest
Northern red cardinals
Northern red cardinals
Peruvian Inca terns moustache
Peruvian Inca terns moustache
Himalayas bird
Himalayas bird
24 day old toco toucan chick
24 day old toco toucan chick
The Himalayan Monal
The Himalayan Monal

 

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