27 August - 11 October 2006
A baby coot chick balancing on a water lily, a full-skirted black swan staring down the lens of a camera and a shot of Ronnie and Reggie (magpie geese) 'marching along like a couple of villains'. These are just some of the 70 stunning images in a new, photographic exhibition at the Walter Rothschild Zoological Museum, by artist Justin de Villeneuve. This is Justin's first exhibition of bird photography, as he first made his name photographing models and rock stars such as Twiggy and David Bowie. The exhibition is free and opens on Sunday 27 August.
'Photographing birds is the best thing I've ever done,' said Justin. 'I was used to Vogue shoots, with fashion models. I've now realised that birds are much more enjoyable to work with - they don't talk back or charge extortionate rates!'
Justin's years of working closely with people has clearly influenced his current work. The character of each bird is evident, the body language distinct, whether it's a subtle tilt of the head or the energetic preening of wings. Tufted ducks are, according to Justin, the species that best reflects the 'constantly preening and posing' of fashion models.
The exhibition is the result of 18 months photographing birds at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust's (WWT) London Wetland Centre in Barnes, west London.
'My doctor told me I needed more exercise, so I started taking a daily walk around the WWT London Wetland Centre,' said Justin. 'I take my camera everywhere, and so soon started snapping away at the birds I came across, although at first the only ones I could recognise were robins, blackbirds and sparrows.'
Many of Justin's favourite photographs are of everyday species. By capturing a certain light, Justin manages to turn familiar species such as ducks and geese into exquisite and exotically posed models.
Notes for editors
Location: The Walter Rothschild Zoological Museum,
Akeman Street, Tring, Herts, HP23 6AP
Dates: 27 August - 11 October 2006
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday 10.00-17.00, Sunday 14.00-17.00, closed 24, 25 and 26 December.
Access: Step-free access is limited to Gallery 1, the temporary exhibition gallery, the shop and Zebra Café. A virtual tour of the upper galleries of the Museum is available in the temporary exhibition gallery.
Visitor enquiries: 020 7942 6171
For more information please contact:
Tel: 020 7942 5654