Inspire stuff

Celebrating Xavi Bou (Born Barcelona, 1979)

If birds left tracks in the sky, what would they look like? For years Barcelona-based photographer Xavi Bou has been fascinated by this question, but of course birds in flight leave no trace—at least none visible to the naked eye.

Bou had a plan though and he has spent the past five years trying to capture the elusive contours drawn by birds in motion, or, as he says, “to make visible the invisible.”

He began exploring photographic techniques that would allow him to show the beauty of birds in a way not seen before and ultimately he chose to work with a video camera, from which he extracts high-resolution photographs.

After he films the birds in motion, Bou selects a section of the footage and layers the individual frames into one image. He finds the process similar to developing film:

He can’t tell in advance what the final result will be, but there’s one magical second, he says, when the image—chimerical and surreal—begins to emerge.

Before Bou began this project, which he calls “Ornitografías,” he earned degrees in geology and photography in Barcelona, then worked as a lighting technician in the fashion industry.

This current work, he says, combines his passion and his profession.

“It’s technical, challenging, artistic, and natural. It’s the connection between photography and nature that I was looking for. Ornitografias is the balance between art and science, a project of naturalist discovery, and, at the same time, an exercise of visual poetry.”

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