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Des Oiseaux.

Photographs by Michael Kenna.
Xavier Barral, Paris, France, 2019. In English / French. 120 pp., 66 Black-and-White photos.



Publisher's Description

Master of landscape photography in black and white, Michael Kenna provides a view of an evanescent world.

The tranquil countryside invites contemplation, with its low skylines, skies carved through rooftops, and low-angle views of the peaks of autumnal trees. The birds hover, draw aerial figures in fleecy skies, and patiently wait on branches. Hanging mid-flight: time freezes, becomes immutable.

Gradations of gray, tones with a slight sepia bend, and depth of field give Michael Kenna's photographs a certain melancholy. The world is silent. The incessant changes of celestial matter, the thickness, the brilliancy—or the fluidity—of the light give the impression that the duration of appearance has been suspended. The birds become palpable, their being in the world is enchanting. Like paintings from the great classical tradition, Kenna's bird photographs reveal a nature devoid of any human presence and where only birds reign.

Michael Kenna
Born in 1953 in Widnes, North England, Michael Kenna studied photography at the London College of Printing. A figure in black and white landscape photography for over forty years, Kenna creates images imbued with the legacy of 19th-century British landscape painters. Working in film, he remains attached to the small, almost square format, which he considers as an invitation to intimism. The very long exposure times of his images, which can last up to ten hours, capture what the eye can not see.

Michael Kenna has lived in the United States since 1977, but still regularly travels the globe. His work has been exhibited all over the world, and appears in prestigious collections, such as those of the Art Institute of Chicago or the MNAM-Center Pompidou. Kenna has also published numerous books including Holga (2017), Rouge (2015) and Images of the Seventh Day (2011).

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