Anne Geene and Arjan de Nooy; Ornithology, 2016
Ornithology refers to the scientific study of birds, including their physiology, classification, ecology, and behaviour. Because of their visibility and often colourful appearance, birds are a popular object in both science and visual arts – photography in particular. With their pseudo-scientific approach hunter-collectors De Nooy & Geene defy the borders between these disciplines, adding a dimension that is largely absent is both the study and the imaging of birds: humour. Their classification of bird pictures exhibits a sometimes hilarious outcome of creative and associative thinking, with every section of the book opening new perspectives on birds. The index of their book seems to be copied from a reference book on ornithology. But, as in most of their works, they only make use of scientific methods to create an artistic microcosm that resembles its scientific counterpart.
De Nooy & Geene manifest themselves as rare birds in the world of bird photography, that is dominated by people with a ‘classic’ aesthetic view. Most of the birds they shot are dead; some of them are representations, building materials or even excrements of birds. With ‘Ornithology’ bird art enters a new level, casting a shade over digiscoping as a cheesy hobby. The book is highly recommended by Charles Darwin, Harper Lee, Humphrey Bogart, Charley Parker and Woody Woodpecker, amongst many others.
Review by Claire Voon for Hyperallergic: http://hyperallergic.com/316907/an-alternative-encyclopedia-of-birds-categorized-by-poop-art-history-and-more/?ref=featured