“EEEEEEKKK!! Get it away from me! Disgusting!” – Sofie Holemans
“Stop feeding it Diana! They have diseases!” – Naomi Gardner
“It isn’t cute, it’s a rodent….with wings!” – Kate Palmer
A few select quotes from friends perfectly sum up people’s general reaction to pigeons. Diseased pests. And OK maybe they do sometimes carry Chiamdiosis and excrete their corrosive poo on great British architecture, but then look at this:
And then this:
In fact just follow this link and look at the whole ‘Spirit of Pigeons’ set on Flickr.
I took these photos while out shooting under instruction from the Daily Mirror. I was meant to be getting back home as it was the second day of student riots. (although I would have liked to take photographs I don’t think they thought it was ethical to send a work experience student into that) But I stayed and took this set.
I was meant to be photographing Canada Square from London Bridge but there were road works, and although I got some OK shots I didn’t get that one where I thought ‘Yes! I did it!’ I had packed my camera away and was walking back to London Bridge Tube station when I looked up and saw this…
…beautiful sky, beautiful metal beam and a pigeon.
I took out my camera and began to chase the pigeons all over the bridge. They seemed like they were running away from a noise but when I look at the photographs later on that night, more often than not they would be looking directly into my lens–even in the most awkward positions. It’s how I imagine they might look if they had been just been shot. When they freeze for a moment before they drop from the sky. Or maybe a less morbid interpretation is that they look like they are being thoroughly intruded upon as though I snapped them in a completely inappropriate manner. PAPARRAZZI!
According to the BBC ‘the feral pigeon has adapted well to living alongside humans and is an integral feature of town centres across the country’. They are always present in towns and unlike rats and other rodents they parade about in public. It’s hard to imagine London without them, but does anyone ever really notice them? Notice where they sleep? What they eat? How they interact? Apart from swooping down whenever food is insight they definitely do seem to live ‘alongside’, not with, us.
I was talking to a friend the other day about CVs and he brought up this very same idea. He thought I should put something like this in my CV:
This is only a rough idea, but the rough idea is so interesting. OK so I’m talking about diseased, airborne rodents but there they are and they think and exist alongside us, not like domestic dogs, but by themselves….
Those eyes looking at me in every picture is an example of what makes photography so exciting for me. Catching a water droplet falling because all it’s virtuosic shapes will never be caught by the eye… Zooming in on snowflakes so that they look as big as trees… Capturing a living thing, even a pigeon, because in that second I think one can immortalise a small piece of spirit….
Thank you pigeons! 😉