blp shabash 430x45

Australian Raven

Australian Raven
Photographed byCon Boekel on Tue 9th Jan, 2018 and uploaded on Wed 10th Jan, 2018 .
CommentAfter it had played with the gumnut for a while, this bird went to some trouble to pick it up by the stem. It was as if it had an inkling that life is surreal.
It came as a welcome break from my endlessly futile quest for a perfectly detailed bird image that can never exist.
When I put this image up on the screen I was immediately reminded of Magritte and his most famous painting, 'this is not a pipe'. The issues are representation and meaning in text and art.
Perhaps the text should read 'this is not a bird'. In response to many conversations about the difference between a raven and a crow, I played around with the idea of adding 'this is not a raven, either'.
Magritte was a commercial artist who sometimes painted deceptively simple pictures. That is to say, he often got rid of detail in order to force the viewer to focus on the main conceptual event.
I have eliminated the bird's sibling and all other contextual detail. I gave considerable thought to the background colour - it is not quite the coffee au lait of 'this is not a pipe' but it will do. Only the photographer and the post processor know that this colour was chosen from the bokeh to be bland and meaningless. By chance, it turned out to be reasonably close to the background in Magritte's 'this is not a pipe'.
I gave some thought to eliminating all detail from the bird - and made several attempts to give it a completely clipped black. But this was not satisfying. I am not sure why. In any case, Magritte's pipe is mockingly full of 'real' detail. It is represented as real. It has been given pictorial depth and an external 'light source'.
Like the pipe, the bird in the image is levitating. It is about unhinging our notions of the meaning of 'real'.
You can't smoke the pipe and the bird will never make a call.
Neither is real.

(I originally started with the space for the bird to look into on the right side of the image but reworked the placement using resize canvas so that it reflects the picture book look of Magritte's pipe painting by sitting squarely in the middle. There is no real point in having space for the bird to look into because the bird can't see. Similarly, I raised the placement of the bird within the picture space by using resize canvas to enable the placement of the text below the bird - again mimicking Magritte.)
EquipmentCanon 5D Mk IV
Canon EF 500mm 1:4 L IS 11 USM
Velbon tripod
1/2000 sec
0 step
500 mm
Processed using first DPP 4 and then PSE 13
LocationAustralian National Botanic Gardens (Australian Capital Territory)
This image is not available for download.
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