Dead Birds

Photographs by Carol Hudson

All the photographs and text are copyrighted

This series of pictures began after finding a dead wren at the front of my house. The tiny bird seemed so very still, in complete contrast to its active scolding life. I was struck by the parallel with photography - the stopping in time, the resemblance that isn't quite the same and the stillness. Impulsively I made a photograph.

As I made more pictures I began to realise that I was not only exploring these mysteries but also attitudes towards death in our society. Death is not part of our lives. We rarely see it, hear it or touch it - and yet we see hundreds of symbolic deaths everyday - on television, in the cinema, novels and comics.

In making the photographs I discovered powerful and often contradictory emotions. Death can be both tragic and comic, sad but welcome, or its violence tinged with relief. I have tried to understand some of the ambiguities that are woven into our discourse with death; and to confront the fear embodied in stillness.

All the birds were found close to where I live, mostly victims of road accidents. They are now all buried in my garden (apart from one which was dug up by a feral cat - now also buried in my garden).

Having discovered that philosophy is not the most vocational course on the academic curriculum I worked for some years, killing rats and cleaning drains, before producing my first photographs in a local camera club on a borrowed camera. Immediately besotted with the potential of the medium, I returned to student status and fell under the influence of two wonderful photographers and teachers - John Blakemore and Paul Hill.

The appeal of still life photography came later with the realization of its possibilites for expressive image making. The creating of scenes in front of the camera is a completely different activity to framing bits of the world, but can be equally fascinating. Initially I thought that complete control over what appeared in the image would leave no room for serendipity or growth of ideas, but gradually I became attuned to the posssibilites inherent in the juxtaposition of objects and the playfulness of light.

I hope you enjoy looking at the photographs and I look forward to hearing your comments.

Carol Hudson

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