Photographs by Vicki Topaz. Text by Doreen Schmid and Gilles Boussard.
96 pp., 61 duotone illustrations, 10x10".
For centuries, raising pigeons and doves was a symbol of status and privilege granted to the aristocracy. Before the French Revolution there were over 40 000 dovecotes in France – large, freestanding buildings, which Vicki Topaz depicts in her enigmatic black-and-white photographs. Today less than 1 000 of these »colombiers« remain, and their numbers dwindle further every year. Fascinated by the melancholic nature of the once-prestigious pigeonries, the American photographer traced their slow decay in Brittany and Normandy over the course of several years. Beyond their documentary character, Topaz’ photographs summon associations with lost worlds, with transience and death. And yet some of these seemingly desolate structures still harbor life, with pigeons nesting undaunted in the homes built just for them so many centuries ago. With its careful framing of telling details and the subtle play of light captured by the camera, Silent Nests represents a unique aesthetic experience. This book represents the first photographic investigation into this special niche of our cultural legacy.