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Beautiful Studio Portraits of Injured Birds at a Bird Sanctuary


Grounded is a project by photographer Bob Croslin that features beautiful studio portraits of birds that are recovering from injuries at a bird sanctuary.

Croslin tells us,

The Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary has been around for about 40 years and I’ve been dropping off injured birds to them every so often for the last 20 years. I’ve made a donation or two over the years but I wanted to find a way to help them through my photography. I approached the sanctuary’s marketing director with the idea of producing a public awareness campaign and gallery show to benefit the sanctuary. I’m also looking for avenues to get the work published to raise awareness of the problems these birds face due to human encroachment into their environment. I wanted to try and capture the personality of each bird while also trying illustrate the bird’s injury if possible.

I worked side-by-side with handlers at the sanctuary over a three month period to photograph the birds. I shot on a black paper seamless for each bird and I must have gone through 4 rolls over the course of 4 months. We would create a pen with portable mesh panels so that the larger birds couldn’t run away but they would inevitably always find a hole to escape through. The majority of these birds are habitualized to humans so they weren’t really afraid of me but the lights and the back drop were a little overwhelming for them. Every shoot involved a period of just letting the birds get used to the gear. We would always try to set up in their pens when possible to limit any anxiety. Some of the birds were flighted and so we would photograph them inside a small room so we could keep them from getting away. Most of the flighted birds are so habitualized to humans and living in captivity that they don’t know how to hunt for food so we couldn’t risk one of them escaping.

The work reminds us of photographer Carli Davidson’s heartwarming photographs of disabled dogs.

You can see the rest of the project over on Croslin’s website.

Image credits: Photographs by Bob Croslin and used with permission