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The Sweetness of Swimming the Rottnest Channel 2020 February 23, 2020

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Leila Nazimi Photo Bohdan Warchomij

The 2020 South32 Rottnest Channel Swim of 19.7 kilometres is a mega event and attracts competitors from Australia and beyond. Lars Bottelier from Holland won the event in a time of 4:18:26, a new record beating his 2016 winning time by 18 minutes. First time soloist William Rollo finished second and 17 year old Kyle Lee third.

Perth City from the race Photo Bohdan Warchomij

Zoe Whitfield from NSW was the first female solo swimmer across the line with a time of 4:48:09, 33 seconds ahead of second placed Josie Page.

Enroute to Cottesloe from South Perth Yacht Club Photo Bohdan Warchomij

The Start Line at Cottesloe Beach Photo Bohdan Warchomij

Crew members wait for their swimmer Photo Bohdan Warchomij

Paddler Jacqui Schofield and swimmer Leila Nazimi dwarfed by the Endeavour Photo Bohdan Warchomij

There were I am sure many personal and individual stories of courage and achievement. I was privileged to accompany a team of skippers, a paddler and crew members looking after a young swimmer Leila Nazimi from Adelaide.

Leila Nazimi Photo Bohdan Warchomij

Leila Nazimi was South Australia’s 2014 International Student of the Year. Leila, who is of UK & Iranian heritage has completed her Honours in Marine Biology degree at Flinders University. She is also a surf lifesaver in Adelaide, accomplished ocean and Masters swimmer and conducts dive research with conservation group Reef Watch. She completed her swim in a commendable 13th place  in a time of 05:51:21.60.

Paddler Jacqui Schofield and swimmer Leila Nazimi Photo Bohdan Warchomij

Crew Scott Phillips, Skipper Matt Hall, Crew Stephen R Taylor on the rig accompanying Leila Nazimi Photo Bohdan Warchomij

Leila Nazimi Photo Bohdan Warchomij

At the finish line Photo Bohdan Warchomij

At the finish line Photo Bohdan Warchomij

The event starts early for the crew that supports each swimmer. Skipper Gavin Lucas on his motor boat YO, kayak paddler Jacqui Schofield, and crew members Matt Hall skipper of the rig that accompanied Leila on her journey, Stephen Taylor, Mark Linn, all with roles to play in support were in place off Cottesloe Beach just before 6am when the second wave of swimmers took off.  Just under 6 hours later they were at the finish line to see Leila cross the line.

Leila Nazimi finish time Photo Bohdan Warchomij

Paddler Jacqui Schofield with competitor Leila Nazimi Photo Bohdan Warchomij

Leila Nazimi at the finish line Photo Bohdan Warchomij

IAN STRANGE Suburban Interventions 2008-2020 John Curtin University Gallery February 7, 2020

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Ian Strange: Suburban Interventions 2008 – 2020,  is the first ever large scale survey of the artist’s photographic and film work. It represents a comprehensive overview of the past 12 years of his thought provoking practice, featuring full suites of the most iconic photographic work as well as three rarely seen films that collectively explore the enigma of the suburban.

Strange, who was born in Western Australia, now lives and works between New York and Melbourne.  He is best known for community-based monumental site-specific suburban intervention projects and has worked with communities in the US and New Zealand in recent years to transform full-scale residential homes to reveal layers of experience and aspiration often hidden behind the conventional facades of normality of suburban life. The artist’s ambitious onsite transformations of full-scale residential homes resonate with the trauma and impact of natural disaster as well as unfulfilled dreams of communities living through profound financial despair on the fringes of an elusive suburban utopia.

Patrick Brown joins CAPTURE magazine Judging Panel February 6, 2020

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CAPTURE Magazine are thrilled to announce yet another world-class photographer has joined the judging panel of Australasia’s Top Emerging Photographers, now in its 12th year. Welcome to prominent photojournalist and World Press Photo award recipient, Patrick Brown. He will help judge the region’s preeminent competition for aspiring, emerging, and early-career photographers.

Photographer Patrick Brown has devoted himself to documenting critical issues across the world that are often ignored by mainstream media. One of his major projects helped expose the illegal trade in endangered animals and won a World Press Photo Award in 2004 and a Journalism’s Picture of the Year International in 2008. Based on his continuing work on the subject, his book Trading to Extinction was nominated in the 10 best photo documentary books of 2014 by American Photo magazine.

He is also the recipient of the 2019 FotoEvidence Book Award, the World Press Photo Award 2018, the 3P Foundation Award 2005, Days Japan International Photojournalism Award 2005, Picture of the Year Award 2005, and the NPPA Best of Photojournalism Award 2008. Brown’s work has been exhibited at the International Centre of Photography in New York, the Metropolitan Museum of Photography in Tokyo, and Visa pour l’image in France. His photographs have enriched the pages of numerous publications, including: The New Yorker, TIME, Newsweek, Vanity Fair, National Geographic, Mother Jones, Stern Magazine, Der Spiegel Magazine, Marie Claire, New York Times, Aperture, GEO Germany, the Guardian, Forbes, Rolling Stones Magazine, and the New Republican.

 Paola Anselmi, curator & arts writer with Contemporary Art, wrote of Patrick Brown:

“Patrick Brown’s images are testament to his remarkable versatility of approach and commitment to the profession. Patrick Brown has assembled an impressive volume of outstanding photographs, tracing the eclecticisms of our time across the globe. Faultless in the portrayal of the human condition, hopes, and disillusionment, the everyday and the extraordinary are captured in the instinctive and the single releases of the shutter. An ongoing journey of discovery, Patrick’s subjects as well as the process of photography are imbued with the freshness and the enthusiasm animated by the prefect marriage of technique and intuition. Patrick Brown’s images demand involvement and invited contemplation. A finely tuned sensibility to his subject matter creates a prefect balance; the camera, the photographer become almost imperceptible, without every being invasive or distant.”

 He has been represented by Panos Pictures since 2003.


Australia Day 2020 Photos from Birak Concert Bohdan Warchomij Metaphor Images January 27, 2020

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Elder Herbert Bropho at Birak Photo Bohdan Warchomij

Australia Day is under siege yet people still want to celebrate it. The Birak Concert in Supreme Court Gardens provided a voice for Aboriginal rappers like Sam Bennell and Little Mase on conscience issues (like changing the date of the day on the grounds of reconciliation and national healing) was well attended and celebrated by both black and white citizens of this country, and the Perth Fireworks visual spectacular attracted hundreds of thousands.

Photo Bohdan Warchomij

A thumbs up from Josh at the Birak Concert Photo Bohdan Warchomij

Photo Bohdan Warchomij

Photo Bohdan Warchomij

Photo Bohdan Warchomij

Photo Bohdan Warchomij

Photo Bohdan Warchomij

Changing history by rewriting it unfortunately has a poor track record. Russia, or the political system that was called the Soviet Union, introduced us to the rewriting of history. Each year its encyclopaedias were rewritten as  scapegoats for political mistakes were dispatched to Siberian gulags for their crimes. They became non persona. The Soviet system collapsed in the 1990′s and the countries within returned to tribalism and nationalism in a twentieth century solution to humanity’s problems.

First time rapper Sam Bennell with a message Photo Bohdan Warchomij

Messengers at Birak Photo Bohdan Warchomij

A more meaningful solution is to progress the Uluru Statement – the recognition  of indigenous Australians in the Constitution  and the creation of a First Nations Voice, an advisory body to help guide the Federal Parliament on indigenous issues. This is creating history, and not rewriting it, a process which only becomes divisive and counter productive.

Aborigines like elder Herbert Bropho, at the Birak Concert with an aborigine flag draped over his shoulders, only want to be recognised and to belong to a valid and civilised process.

A view of the Australia Day Fireworks from Elizabeth Quay Photo Bohdan Warchomij


Perth Photographers at Rotterdam Photo 2020 January 26, 2020

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Photo Darren Smith

Photo Darren Smith

Photo Darren Smith

Perth Photographers Adrian Lambert and Darren Smith are selected to exhibit at Rotterdam Photo 2020 as part of their theme, TRANSITIONS. They have both lived and worked in Western Australia before departing for separate lives in Europe, and their work explores their creative response to life in the UK and The Netherlands, respectively. 

Photo Darren Smith

Their project “We leave behind that which we cannot carry” explores the concept of frame of reference through the photographers’ shared history and geography; and presents two distinct bodies of work, which reveal interconnectedness and contrasts.

Photo Adrian Lambert

Adrian Lambert (b. 1972) is a British photographer from a disconnected Northern town in England. In 1996 he left to live in Perth, and has returned after 16 years to the town of his childhood, with his family. He set out documenting the closure and relocation of his old high school – a chaotic process set against a backdrop of unchanged surfaces, familiar to several generations of occupants. The work speaks to the idea of perseverance amidst upheaval, and the lasting impact that even mundane spaces have on our psyche. 

Photo Adrian Lambert

Photo Adrian Lambert

Photo Adrian Lambert

After pursuing a career since 1989 centred on commercial architectural documentation and portraiture, he is now focussed on the human response to the built environment. His career began as an accident that resulted from a job as a van driver for a commercial studio, to his being established as one of Australia’s most sought after Architectural photographers. Recent commissions include documenting the transitioning culture and environment in and around NOMA, a recently demarcated district of Manchester as it transitions from its Co-Operative Wholesale Society roots to a new 20 acre modern neighbourhood.  

American-born photographer Darren Smith (b. 1984) has a signature style, combining classical influences with a touch of rock and roll, and strong personalities. He attended Edith Cowan University and lived in Perth from 2003, until departing for Amsterdam in 2016. Darren reflects on his first four years in The Netherlands, as a creative and personal journey. 

Since transitioning to Amsterdam, he has embarked on a creative exploration traveling to electronic music festivals and nightclubs around Europe, where he captures ethereal performers and personalities in his ‘pop up studio’.

His work focuses on capturing the authenticity of the people he portrays, using the rich, otherworldly environments to create a special atmosphere where people become the ‘best idealised versions of themselves’. In a world that is increasingly disconnected, Darren uses photography as a tool to connect people. His move to The Netherlands represents a creative catalyst that has allowed him to be inspired, and to inspire others with the humanity of those he photographs.

‘We leave behind that which we cannot carry’ is exhibited February 6-9 at Rotterdam Photo 2020 in Deliplein, Rotterdam, and their work will be presented at Rotterdam Photo Talks at Nederlands Fotomueseum on February 8th from 20:00.


Iran admission of guilt after shooting down of Ukrainian Airliner: January 12, 2020

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KYIV, Ukraine — Iran’s stunning admission that its forces errantly downed a Ukrainian jetliner — reversing three days of denial — did little to quell growing fury inside the country and beyond on Saturday as the deadly tragedy turned into a volatile political crisis for Tehran’s leaders and overshadowed their struggle with the United States.

Ukrainian officials criticized Iran’s conduct, suggesting that the Iranians would not have admitted responsibility if investigators from Ukraine had not found evidence of a missile strike in the wreckage of the crash, which killed all 176 people aboard.

Protests erupted in Tehran and other Iranian cities as dumbfounded citizens found a new reason to mistrust Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, and other officials. Protest videos even showed some shouting “Khamenei is a murderer!” and anti-riot police tear-gassing violent demonstrators.

President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, in his first reaction to Iran’s announcement, said his country would “insist on a full admission of guilt” by Tehran. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada, home to many of those aboard the destroyed jetliner, demanded a “full and complete investigation” and said “Iran must take full responsibility.” Both spoke by phone with Mr. Rouhani.

Contradictions and miscues complicated Iran’s message even as it took responsibility. Iran’s military, in its initial admission early Saturday, said the flight’s crew had taken a sharp, unexpected turn that brought it near a sensitive military base — an assertion that was immediately disputed by the Ukrainians.

Within Iran, as citizens vented anger toward their government, officials offered a mix of contrition and an insistence that Iran was not solely to blame. Mr. Rouhani called the error an “unforgivable mistake.” General Hajizadeh, whose forces were responsible, said he had wished death upon himself because of the blunder.

Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, wrote in an apology posted on Twitter: “Human error at time of crisis caused by US adventurism led to disaster.”

Some protest images posted on Iranian social media even showed torn photos of General Suleimani.

“Death to liars!” and “Death to the dictator!” shouted Iranians gathered in squares in the capital Tehran, videos shared on social media showed. “You have no shame!” shouted several young men, and the crowd joined in a chorus.

In another tense spillover from the protests, the Iranian authorities briefly seized Britain’s Tehran ambassador, Rob Macaire, for what news accounts in Iran called his “involvement in provoking suspicious acts” at a protest. Britain’s foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, denounced the seizure as a “flagrant violation of international law.”

Many protesters carried candles and placed flowers at the gates of the universities and other public places in Tehran. Conservatives and supporters of the government accused the authorities of having intentionally misled the public about what had brought down the plane. Its passengers included many young Iranians on their way to Canada for graduate study.

The criticism of Iran over the crash of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752, a Boeing 737-800, now threatens to eclipse whatever international sympathy Iran has garnered in its escalating confrontation with the Trump administration, which has faced widespread criticism over stoking a violent confrontation with Iran’s leaders.

For three days after the crash, Iranian officials not only denied their military forces were responsible but blamed what they called the aircraft’s mechanical problems and said suggestions of Iranian culpability were American propaganda. Satellite surveillance and video clips of the plane strongly suggested Iran’s own air defense missile system blasted the plane out of the sky.

The Iranians reversed themselves early Saturday.

The newly critical language by Ukrainian officials in the aftermath of Iran’s admission stood in sharp contrast to more cautious statements in recent days. It partly reflected the frustrations in a country that had been thrust in the middle of the conflict between the United States and Iran.

Mr. Danilov, the Ukrainian security official, said Iran had been forced into conceding its military had brought down the jet because the evidence of a missile strike had become overwhelmingly clear to international investigators.

He said Ukrainian experts on the ground in Iran had gathered such evidence since their arrival on Thursday despite apparent Iranian efforts to complicate the investigation, including by sweeping debris into piles rather than carefully documenting it.

“When a catastrophe happens, everything is supposed to stay in its place,” he said. “Every element is described, every element is photographed, every element is fixed in terms of its location and coordinates. To our great regret, this was not done.”

Mr. Zelensky’s office posted on Facebook photos of plane wreckage and a Canadian man’s passport showing small piercings — consistent with the hypothesis that shrapnel from a surface-to-air missile hit the plane.

“We expect Iran to assure its readiness for a full and open investigation, to bring those responsible to justice, to return the bodies of the victims, to pay compensation, and to make official apologies through diplomatic channels,” Mr. Zelensky said in a post on his Facebook page. “We hope that the investigation will continue without artificial delays and obstacles.”

Countdown 2020 January 1, 2020

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New Years’s Eve 2020 kicked off in Sydney and Auckland as a swathe of cities followed suit across the time lines of the world with fireworks and celebrations to bring the New Year in. In Perth Rotary held a new year’s countdown with Amy Manford, star of the Phantom of the Opera, the attraction of the show.

Photo Bohdan Warchomij


Red Bull Leighton to Lighthouse Winner Oliver Bridge Time 21:08.9 Photos Bohdan Warchomij December 9, 2019

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Photo Bohdan Warchomij

Oliver Bridge, the three-time Men’s European Champion and seven-time Under 21 World Champion won the race in 2014 and 2017 and has won the title back from his brother Guy Bridge who continues to hold the race record of 18 minutes, 49 seconds for the 19km crossing.

The slower speed of the crossing in today’s race was reflected in the high winds of over 20 knots, making the ocean notably choppy for the 138 starters.

Olly, aged 22, said it was one of the toughest Red Bull Lighthouse to Leighton races he’s competed in.

“It was the most amount of seaweed I’ve ever seen in the channel, so it was about jumping, getting seaweed off, but trying to go fast at the same time and not crash and it was nice and windy at least. Yeah, a good race,” – Olly Bridge

21-year-old Jean de Falbaire from Mauritius came in 2nd fastest at 23:11, and the fastest West Australian competitor was Lincoln Sullivan in a time of 23:22.

Crunch Time for Getty Images: The Seattle Times December 5, 2019

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Craig Peters is the chief executive officer of Getty Images, an international photography agency based in Seattle. A big part of its business is stock images, and Getty’s new pricing policy for them has drawn criticism. (Bettina Hansen / The Seattle Times)

With its vast archive of more than 350 million images, a stable of award-winning photojournalists, and annual revenues of nearly $1 billion, Seattle-based Getty Images may be the most dominant player in the picture business.

It is also, arguably, the most controversial.

Getty has been criticized for selling the rights to photos that are freely available in the public domain. It was infamous for an aggressive copyright strategy that until recently included cease-and-desist orders and debt collections against anyone, even churches and small organizations, that used its images without permission.

And, critics say, Getty can be tough on the people who make those images in the first place.

Just over half of Getty’s revenues, according to industry estimates, come from distributing “stock” photos — images of generic subjects, such as “house” or “orange juice” or “corporate executive,” that a commercial client might use in brochures, websites or advertisements.

The stock photo business is highly competitive, with Getty and its rivals, such as Adobe and Shutterstock, steadily cutting prices to keep market share. Last month, for example, Getty announced plans to move entirely to a “royalty-free” pricing model that would make stock images even cheaper for clients.

But if lower prices have benefited Getty’s customers, they’ve also meant less money for stock photographers, who have seen their earnings steadily fall — in some cases to as low as a few pennies per image.

Craig Peters, the new CEO of Getty Images, is unrepentant. He says Getty’s pricing simply acknowledges that the stock business is no longer dominated, as it was 20 years ago, by “a small group of photographers supplying a small number of customers at relatively high price points.”

To the contrary, as megapixel smartphone cameras and inexpensive broadband have saturated the market with ever-better, ever-cheaper images, Peters says, older business models have fallen aside, as have players who depend on them.

He points to Corbis Images, Getty’s one-time crosstown rival, which Getty acquired parts of in 2016 and which, Peters notes, was tenaciously sticking to an outdated pricing model “right up until the end.”

Others are less matter-of-fact about the industry’s changes.

It’s “race to the bottom,” says Francis Zera, a Seattle-area commercial and architectural photographer who sells stock images through Getty and other agencies. (He actually shot Getty’s Seattle offices, in the Chinatown International District, for the company in 2013.)

Getty’s new pricing strategy, Zera says, simply encourages customers to expect stock photography for next to nothing. “It’s the old joke, ‘Why buy the cow when the milk is free?’”

Jim Pickerell, a veteran stock photographer and industry critic, agrees. Getty’s latest move, he says, can only accelerate the slide of the stock business toward “a strictly low-income, part-time, amateur endeavor.”

Critics also note that Getty, for all its forward-looking rhetoric, hasn’t entirely escaped its own past — not least the 2008 decision by founders Mark Getty (grandson of oil tycoon Jean Paul Getty), and Jonathan Klein to sell out to a private equity firm, which saddled Getty with more than $2 billion debt.

Last year, in what was widely seen as a turnaround effort, the Getty family acquired a controlling share in the company, promoted Peters to CEO and raised $600 million in outside capital for much needed investment.

But the turnaround has been slow. Although as a privately held company it doesn’t publish financial data, industry insiders say Getty’s earnings before taxes, interest and other expenses in the first half 2019 were up barely 3 percent over the same period in 2018.

That points to Getty’s larger challenge: The supply of new photographs and videos is exponentially outpacing what producers or distributors can charge for each one.

Peters says that, since the late 1990s, the volume of licensed images Getty distributes annually has probably grown by a factor of between 30 and 60, while company revenues have roughly tripled.

“The amount of imagery that you need to  provide [today] — the economics of that have completely shifted,” he says.

In some respects, Getty Images is suffering from its own success.

Getty and Klein founded Getty Images in 1995 in London when the stock photography business was an inefficient but lucrative seller’s market, with small agencies selling premium images for hundreds and even thousands of dollars and splitting the proceeds with photographers.

But early on, Getty and Klein saw how digital technologies were disrupting the photo business. In 1997, they acquired Seattle-based PhotoDisc, a pioneer in web-based photos, and two years later, relocated their business to Seattle, which was emerging as a center of digital image technologies.

Over the next decade, as Getty snapped up stock firms and archival collections and built out an “editorial” operation to supply news, sports, and entertainment images to media outlets, the company embedded these assets in a digital platform that made it cheaper and faster to get images from producers to clients.

By 2006, Getty had 2,000 employees, large offices in New York and London, and profits of more than a $130 million.

But the digital-image market Getty had helped launch was now moving beyond its control. “Microstock” agencies such as iStockphoto were stealing market share with lower-end, often amateur-produced images that sold for $15 or less. Even after Getty bought iStockphoto in 2006, growth was becoming harder to sustain.

In 2008, Getty and Klein sold the business for $2.4 billion to private equity firm Hellman & Friedman, the first of Getty’s two private equity owners; the second, Carlyle Group, bought Getty in 2014 for $3.3 billion.

The private-equity era would bring more ambitious acquisitions, including Corbis’s image assets, in 2016. But it would also bring some critical missteps.

Getty’s private-equity owners had financed the purchase of Getty with massive debt — $2.6 billion in the case of Carlyle — which became Getty’s debt. With much of Getty’s cash flow now going to service debt and pay dividends to private equity investors, the company struggled to invest in new technology. That posed a potential problem in “a business where you’re being disrupted by new technology and new competition,” says Gregory Fraser, a senior analyst with Moody’s Investors Service.

At the same time, to generate more needed cash, Getty tried to raise prices on its midmarket, or “midstock,” images. But that ill-timed move, coming just as cheap micro-stock was flooding the market, hurt Getty’s business and lost it $100 million in annual revenues by 2016, according to Moody’s.

Some of that damage has been reversed since the Getty family came on board last fall. The firm had already begun introducing more competitive pricing, including monthly subscriptions.

It has also rolled out a host of new technology initiatives. The company is beefing up its distribution platforms, and now needs less than a minute to get news, sports, entertainment, and other editorial images from photographers’ cameras to its news media clients, who still make up 30 percent of Getty’s total revenues, according to Moody’s.

On its commercial side, Getty is using AI-assisted technologies to help clients more efficiently search Getty’s vast portfolio. Getty even has an initiative to algorithmically adjust clients’ image searches so that historically underrepresented stock subjects — such as “female physicians” — turn up more often.

Yet whether these initiatives will deliver the results Getty Images needs is still uncertain. The company’s debt, though reduced, remains substantial.

As technology and competition continue to drive down the costs of making and distributing images, customers will expect to pay even less. To compensate, Getty and its rivals have little choice but to keep boosting volumes while keeping costs down.

Industry experts say that means Getty Images and its rivals will continue pushing down the prices paid to stock photographers.

Pickerell, for example, estimates that the average price for a stock image today has fallen to around $29. John Harrington, a Washington, D.C.-based photographer and expert on the photo industry, thinks it’s even less — in “the sub-$10 range,” and that some stock photographers are getting per-image royalties of fractions of pennies.

Peters, while declining to discuss average photo prices, acknowledges that with more competition and a larger base of photographers working today, the stream of total royalty payments has “become more diffused, and so certain individuals have seen their individual pieces going down.”

None of which is encouraging for stock photographers themselves. Zera, the Seattle-area photographer, says the downward price spiral has made stock photography all but untenable for professionals like him.

“Everybody wants pretty pictures — as long as they don’t cost anything,” he says. “And that’s not a very solid business model.”

MH17 Photo near Torres Ukraine by Bohdan Warchomij METAPHOR IMAGES PERTH


Paul Roberts:  proberts@seattletimes.com;  on Twitter: @Pauledroberts.

World Birds: British Photographer Tim Flach December 2, 2019

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British photographer Tim Flach has spent years scouring the globe for the world’s most striking and endangered birds, shooting highly-controlled portraits of them.

Some of the photos are shot in a studio while others are shot in the birds’ natural environment. Some of the birds are critically endangered while others are more plentiful on Earth, but all are incredibly beautiful.