A riddle: What’s as intricate as a thumbprint, but as shining as an emerald?
You might’ve suspected a duet of flickering dark-green attentions, or a bud in early spring. But you probably didn’t guess another commodity of nature that’s less frequently the subject of poetic contemplates: a bird’s feather.
Calling attention to the singular glamour of the functional objects, National Geographic photographer Robert Clark took intimate likeness of featherings and obtained them in a brand-new volume, Feathers: Showings of Brilliant Plumage, treating them as subjects are worth detailed examination.
In one of his feather paintings, a fluffy, chocolate-brown objective is surfaced by a sharp dark-green peak. It’s a blood pheasant’s feathering, and, as Clark described, it’s designed not for flying, but for pinching through tight openings. In another persona, rows of clashing structures make for a dizzying view — leopard-like recognizes are topped off by a starry expanse and a ribbon-like sequence of deep, velvety blue. The great argus’s feathers are quite the creation; that’s why they’re been applied to captivate teammates. As is the King bird-of-paradise’s plumage, which examines more like a copper-and-gem statue than something that could occur in sort, and surely, Clark writes that its feather “serves non-mechanical purposes.”
While the descriptions of the featherings are informative, gazing at the abstract compositions of each palette is a pleasure in its own right; it’s sufficient to draw you wonder why sundowns get all the recognition when it comes to romantic natural phenomena.
The below personas and captions are excerpted from Feathers: Showings of Brilliant Plumage by Robert Clark, published by Chronicle Books 2016.