Birds: Tim Flach

16 May - 27 June 2022

Until June 26th, 2022, Echo Fine Arts is very proud to present "Birds" by renowned British photographer Tim Flach. 

Birds of the world are portrayed in all their colorful glory through a selection of 20 limited editions fine art photographs from his recently published book entitled "Birds", published by Abrams (available in our store).

  • “The crux of things is that we’ve got to engage people,” says Tim Flach. “There’s a question of how we connect people with nature - how we engage them, how we depict animals so that it leads to something constructive. You have to grab peoples’ attention, but you also have to make them care, make them have an empathy that leads to a conservation outcome. There has to be a really significant story that enables or empowers people to take appropriate action.”

     Tim Flach

  • About Tim Flach

    Biography
  • Tim Flach is one of the world’s foremost animal photographers, his technical expertise and innovative intellectual approach helping define the...

     

    Tim Flach is one of the world’s foremost animal photographers, his technical expertise and innovative intellectual approach helping define the way images are made in this arena. Born in 1958 in London, he published his first monograph, Equus, in 2008, an acclaimed study of horses and our relationship with them. This book was followed by six more monographs to date – Dogs (2010), More Than Human (2012), Evolution (2013), Endangered (2017), Who Am I? (2019), and Birds (2021). His next project will be a study of insects.
    As the world faces its sixth mass extinction, also known as the Anthropocene extinction, Flach’s images communicate an urgent ecological message into the cultural sphere. Eschewing romantic fantasies of traditional wildlife photography, they emphasise connection with other creatures in a bid to engage viewers and move them into making the necessary changes to government policy and their own behaviour.

    Flach’s photographs have been exhibited at prominent galleries and museums worldwide. Endangered, a powerful record of species on the edge of extinction, was shown at the Muséum national d'histoire naturelle, Paris in 2021 and the State Gallery of Art, Hyderabad in 2019, for example; Flach has also had solo shows in venues such as the Beijing Museum of Natural History and Lumiere Brothers Gallery in Moscow. His images are held in permanent collections such as the V&A Museum and Swedish Museum of Natural History.

  • Since the beginning of his career, Flach has contributed to academic research into how photographs of animals impact on their audiences. In 2020 he published a study with two social scientists, Professors Cameron Thomas Whitley and Linda Kalof, which used empirical evidence to show that anthropomorphic animal portraits promote empathy. Flach has been invited to speak at conferences such as The Zoological Society of London and St Petersburg International Economic Forum, and has lectured at universities worldwide. He has also contributed to books and group projects, including Surveying the Anthropocene: Environment and Photography Now, which was published by Edinburgh University Press in 2021, and A Cabinet of Curiosities for the Anthropocene, published by Chicago Press in 2018.
    Tim Flach graduated from St Martins College in 1982; in 2013, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of the Arts, London.

  • Iconic Photographs

    from previous series
  • EQUUS

    2008

    Def. : the family of animals that goes from Ass to Zebra, but is mostly Horses.

    No animal has captured the Human imagination quite like the horse, first depicted in cave drawings thousands of years ago through to countless renderings in paint, clay, ink and film. My quest to document the horse has resulted in EQUUS, my first series. Intended as an exploration of the species in its own right - captured as solitary subject and en masse; from the air and underwater - EQUUS celebrates the animal whose history is so powerfully linked to our own. From exquisite Arabians in the Royal Yards of the United Arab Emirates to Icelandic horses in their glacial habitat; from the soulful gaze of a single horse’s lash-lined eye to the thundering majesty of mustangs racing across the plains of Utah, EQUUS provides a unique insight into the physical dynamics and spirit of the horse.

  • This is a picture of a horse named Hassan, or rather, just a part of Hassan. A white shoulder and...

    Tim FlachHorse Mountain, 2008

    This is a picture of a horse named Hassan, or rather, just a part of Hassan. A white shoulder and a mane on a black background, the image manages to say more by having little in it. This semi-abstract picture has a level of ambiguity that resonates - a detail of a beautiful horse that at the same time, suggests a pristine snow-covered mountain. The attention this image received made me realize that the horse was not only a subject that fascinated me, it also had a special connection for many other people. Somehow, the image had punctured their consciousness and prompted them to respond. 

    Excerpt from Equus, published by Abrams, 2008

  • DOG GODS

    2010

    This is the tale of our oldest, most faithful friend, the species that came in from the cold more than 15,000 years ago to keep us company and share our food. These incredibly adaptable animals extend our senses, make us more successful and happier, do our work in the country and the city; they are tough enough to haul us for days across icy wastelands and delicate enough to snooze gently in the warming of an elegant lap. They can entertain us, protect us, teach us how to love, do what they are told, and tell us what is going to happen next. They can even extend our lives. We think we train them to do the work but they have in turn found a way for us to provide for them. This great bond that has forged so many different forms of dog is the inspiration for this series. The result is an unprecedented insight and visualization of what dogs are and can be. Now new ways of living and new findings in research reveal our relationship with these much-loved creatures is even more intense and vital than we previously thought. In insightful stories and eye-opening images, Dogs Gods shows us that our great companions may not only be remarkable as dogs they can also hold the key to new understandings of what it is to be Human.

  • This dog is a Hungarian Puli named Andy. It is unusual, as it has the familiar sweet face of a Westie or a Bichon Frise, but snapped in the moment as it jumped, it has the wild dreadlocked tendrils of a mop! The puli was originally a herding dog, used by the nomadic inhabitants of the Hungarian plains to herd their livestock. Its curious corded coat is almost entirely waterproof, and extremely thick, which came in handy when protecting the flock from wolves. It is a small dog however, and the real protecting was done by its larger dreadlocked cousin, the Komondor, another Hungarian herding dog who would watch over the animals at night, after the Puli had tended them by day.

    This dog is a Hungarian Puli named Andy. It is unusual, as it has the familiar sweet face of a...

    Tim FlachFlying Mop, 2011

  • MORE THAN HUMAN

    2012

    "What underlines my work in this project, are the questions about how we shape nature and how it shapes us.”
    By removing them from their natural environment and placing them in minimal studio–like settings, the images map over a style of Human portraiture.
    Tim’s aim was to “illuminate the relationship between Human and non Human animals – to make an inquiry into how these relationships occupy anthroprocentric space.

  • Hungry Ya Yun had to be tamed by food. 'Usually, they would have a stick of bamboo but we gave...

    Tim FlachYa Yun 'Elegant', 2012

    Hungry Ya Yun had to be tamed by food. "Usually, they would have a stick of bamboo but we gave her small fragments of apple that wouldn’t be as obvious in the shot," says Flach. "I sought to focusing on Ya Yun's personality as an individual, needing to move the portrait away from a normal bamboo eating panda. What I got was something very gestural and ambiguous, you can easily imagine her holding a microphone or ice cream". Ya Yun, a mischievous female from Chengdu, China, under the care of the Panda Research Centre, was chosen as the star model. Since he only had a few minutes to take this shot, Flach spent time practising with a toy panda before Ya Yun entered the room. Once inside the studio Ya Yun took an instant dislike to her new surroundings. "She pulled down my perfectly positioned black backdrop. She tore it cleanly in two, enjoying every moment," Flach says. "It was a beautiful piece of crushed velvet that we bought all the way from the UK. I had to piece it back together and make do".

  • ENDANGERED

    2017

    Endangered is a «powerful visual record of remarkable animals and ecosystems facing harsh challenges ». This collection of images isn’t intended to be a registry of endangered species: «it is a unique experiment exploring the role of imagery in fostering an emotional connection with species and their habitats.» It will, Flach hopes «inspire, challenge, and inform» and hopefully acts as a springboard for positive action.

  • Up on the roof of the world, the cold and arid plateaux and ranges of Central Asia are home to...

    Tim FlachSnow Leopard, 2017

    Up on the roof of the world, the cold and arid plateaux and ranges of Central Asia are home to hardy mountaineers like blue sheep and Siberian ibex, the main prey of the snow leopard. But the herds of domestic sheep and goats that now encroach on this high terrain make easier pickings for snow leopards, which have been known to enter corrals and kill dozen of livestock animals at night. A 2016 report from wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC found that, on average, four snow leopards have been killed every week since 2008. Of those, more than half are revenge killings by herders, angry at losing their already-meager income. Another 20-odd percent succumb to poachers (some for their illegally traded fur, others for body parts used in traditional Asian medecines), and a further 20 percent are caught in  traps set for other animals. Around four to seven thousand snow leopards survive today.

  • BIRDS

    2021
  •  Working for years in his studio and in the field, internationally acclaimed photographer Tim Flach has portrayed nature’s most alluring creatures alertly at rest and dramatically in flight, capturing intricate feather patterns and subtle colouration invisible to the naked eye.

  • "Birds just present such an array of colors, such different morphologies, I just wanted to explore the wonderment and the beauty of birds."

    Tim Flach

  • Birds

    Video © New Scientist.com
  • Birds of the world are portrayed in all their colorful glory through a selection of 20 limited editions fine art photographs from his eponymous book recently published by Abrams. Working for years in his studio and in the field, internationally acclaimed photographer Tim Flach has portrayed nature’s most alluring creatures alertly at rest and dramatically in flight, capturing intricate feather patterns and subtle colouration invisible to the naked eye. Radiating grace, intelligence, and humor, and always in motion, birds tantalize the human imagination. Working for years in his studio and the field, Tim Flach has portrayed nature’s most exquisite creatures alertly at rest or dramatically in flight, capturing intricate feather patterns and subtle coloration invisible to the naked eye. From familiar friends to marvelous rarities, Flach’s birds convey the beauty and wonder of the natural world. Here are all manner of songbirds, parrots, and birds of paradise; birds of prey, water birds, and theatrical domestic breeds.

  • Tim Flach, Flamingo Reflections, 2021
  • Galliforms

    Tim FlachHimalayan Monal - Three Quarters, 2021,

    Galliforms

    "With their frequently brilliant colors, elaborate plumes, and outrageous courtship displays, the pheasants and their relatives (Galliformes, or landfowl) are an ancient lineage of birds that includes some of nature’s most aesthetically extreme creatures. The galliforms are prized by both avian and mammalian—and not least, human—predators. Consequently, the galliforms also include some of the most well camouflaged of all bird species."

    Excerpt from "Birds", Abrams, 2021

  • Waterfowls

    Tim FlachMandarin Duck, 2021

    Waterfowls

    "Webbed toes, broad bills, crisp plumages, and waddling gaits are all reliable field marks of the waterfowl, making them among the most recognizable kind of birds.  [...]

    Because they forage in the water or while waddling across the land, waterfowl mostly fly to get from one foraging site to another or to migrate. For this, they have evolved short, pointy wings that are more efficient over longer distances at faster speeds. Consequently, they are very heavy for their wing size and must really exert themselves to get into the air. Puddle ducks can take off directly from the water, but geese, swans, and diving ducks must run along the water in order to get enough speed to get airborne."

    Excerpt from Birds, Abrams, 2021

  • Pigeons

    Tim Flach, Victoria Crowned Pigeon, 2021

    Pigeons

    "The familiar pigeon, or rock dove, is a common sight in cities and towns around the world. However, its ubiquity should not distract us from admiring its many diverse wild cousins. The family of pigeons and doves (Columbidae) includes a vast radiation of over three hundred species found in all parts of the world except Antarctica. Pigeons and doves are largely seed and fruit eaters, and they have successfully evolved to thrive in many of the world’s forests, grasslands, and deserts.

     [...]

    Pigeons and doves are attentive parents. Typically, their nests are a sparse and quite flimsy platform of sticks, and males and females share in incubating and feeding the young. However, the adult diet of seeds and fruits creates a challenge for baby pigeons, or squabs, because plant materials can be very hard to digest. As a result, pigeons and doves produce a nutritious “crop milk” from special cells in the lining of the esophagus. The squabs are fed on pigeon milk for the first week of life."

    Excerpt from Birds, Abrams, 2021

  • “Birds were flying from continent to continent long before we were. They reached the coldest place on Earth, Antarctica, long before we did. They can survive in the hottest of deserts. Some can remain on the wing for years at a time. They can girdle the globe. Now, we have taken over the Earth and the sea and the sky, but with skill and care and knowledge, we can ensure that there is still a place on Earth for birds in all their beauty and variety — if we want to… And surely, we should.”

    — Sir David Attenborough

  • Waders & Waterbirds

    "Birds have been tremendously successful at colonizing aquatic habitats, and they have evolved every imaginable manner of aquatic foraging—probing, seizing, scooping, filtering, skimming, and more. "

    Recent evolutionary studies have established that a surprisingly large number of waders, waterbirds, and diving birds have evolved from a single, exclusive common ancestor, not shared with the ducks and geese. Thus, waterbirds provide a classic example of adaptive radiation—the evolutionary diversification of a broad array of functional ecological forms from a single common origin. The beaks of waterbirds have evolved a great diversity of shapes and sizes to gather food. Ibises probe in the muddy water of estuaries, swamps, and mangroves for invertebrate prey. The avocets use their delicate upturned bills like tweezers to grasp tiny invertebrate prey off the surface of the water. Hovering terns spot their prey and plunge down into the water to seize small fishes. Spoonbills draw their broad, flattened bills back and forth through the water to filter out both invertebrates and tiny fish. As if they were flying underwater, penguins chase fishes and squid at fantastic speeds propelled by their wings.

    Excerpt from Birds, Abrams, 2021

  • Flamboyance, Making of, 2020

    Tim Flach Making-of video of 'Flamboyance', by Tim Flach
  • “Flamingos are waders and I decided I wanted to communicate that fact. I thought, let’s see if we can get...

    “Flamingos are waders and I decided I wanted to communicate that fact. I thought, let’s see if we can get them reflecting in the water while feeding. They are the only birds that can feed upside down and have specialised beaks that enable them to do so.

    I wanted to go very stylised with this image, to be consistent with the rest of the project. We had already done a shoot with small ducks in the studio, floating in a small tray of water lined with black material, and I quite liked the way it was working. It was displaying the birds as they might display to each other. That gave us confidence to try a similar approach, but on a bigger scale. We decided to do the shoot in a barn, near to where the flamingos were being kept. We prepared a pool of water, around 15ftx18ft, which was lined with black plastic. Behind, I had this big sheet of velvet, around 18ft long, which is my general go-to background and sucks out any light.

    When we put the flamingos in the water they settled quickly because they were being kept quite nearby and didn’t have the stress of a journey. They were more concerned with their own pecking order and were happy to stay in the middle of the water. I wanted to get some rippling in the water surface, but not so much that it broke up the snake-like reflection which gives that sense of intriguing abstraction. Too much ripple and the reflection breaks up, but too little and it’s not very interesting.

    When lighting the birds, the challenge was to get the lighting coming across them without lighting the black material underneath. I used a couple of banks of light, fitted with honeycombs, that acted texturally as one light source. I also had to be careful that the black beaks didn’t disappear against the black background.”

    Tim Flach

  • Raptors

    Raptors

    Whether it is a soaring eagle, a diving peregrine falcon, or a furtive owl spied in the night, the experience of a wild raptor will raise your pulse and inspire awe and excitement. These predatory birds have long captured the human imagination, and they always reward our attention and interest. Although raptors are not a single branch on the avian tree of life, recent research indicates that the ancestor of the major lineage of land birds was a raptor. In other words, the most recent shared ancestor between a hoopoe and a finch, or a woodpecker, and a weaver was a raptor. Raptors comprise a diverse group of carnivorous bird families with distinct hunting techniques that feed on a variety of prey. Large hawks and eagles feed on vertebrate prey. Falcons specialize in eating other birds. Owls feed mostly at night, while vultures feed on carrion. Keen vision is vital to the hunting success of the diurnal raptors. Hawks, eagles, and falcons have the highest visual acuity of any animals known, providing them with ten times the visual detail of humans. Although owls have great nocturnal vision, they have also evolved amazingly acute hearing to aid in locating their scurrying prey."

    Excerpt from Birds, Abrams, 2021

  • Tim Flach, Peregrine Falcon, 2021
  • Toucans and Hornbills

    Tim FlachToco Toucan - Front On, 2021

    Toucans and Hornbills

    "Toucans and hornbills nest in tree cavities. Hornbills, in particular, have an extraordinary and unique nesting behavior. After selecting an appropriate tree cavity in which to nest, the male and female close up the entrance with mud, ultimately sealing the female inside the cavity. While inside, the female will incubate the eggs, care for the hatched chicks, and protect them from predation. On the outside, the male feeds his mate and the growing family of chicks through a small slit in the dry wall of mud. When the young are ready to fledge, the pair break down the adobe-like seal and leave the nest. Because large hornbills must find ample nest cavities in mature tropical trees, they require enormous tracts of prime forest in order to survive. Thus, many species are highly vulnerable to extinction."

    Excerpt from Birds, Abrams, 2021

  • Toucans & Hornbills

    Tim FlachToco Toucan - Front On, 2021,

    Toucans & Hornbills

    Toucans are found in Central and South America from southern Mexico south to northern Argentina, whereas the hornbills are found in sub-Saharan Africa and tropical Asia. Both families are largely frugivorous, and they are important dispersers of the seeds of tropical trees. They may play an important role in the regeneration of tropical-forest ecosystems.

    [...]

    Toucans and hornbills nest in tree cavities. Hornbills, in particular, have an extraordinary and unique nesting behavior. After selecting an appropriate tree cavity in which to nest, the male and female close up the entrance with mud, ultimately sealing the female inside the cavity. While inside, the female will incubate the eggs, care for the hatched chicks, and protect them from predation. On the outside, the male feeds his mate and the growing family of chicks through a small slit in the dry wall of mud. When the young are ready to fledge, the pair break down the adobe-like seal and leave the nest. Because large hornbills must find ample nest cavities in mature tropical trees, they require enormous tracts of prime forest in order to survive. Thus, many species are highly vulnerable to extinction.

    Excerpt from "Birds", published by Abrams, 2021