Magpies: Part one

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The Magpie Pica Pica is my most recent project I have been working on for the past few months, found throughout a variety of religions and superstitions sparking my interest into whether this is encouraged through their natural behavior. I have been delving into a variety of cultures and beliefs surrounding these unique birds as well as their natural history background which will be projected into my images to come. Whilst this project has changed in a variety of ways due to unforeseen circumstances and unreliable subjects, taking me down a still life route. As with many birds Magpies are common symbols of life and death through their ability to fly but are misunderstood as bad omens due to various habits such as scavenging and history with witchcraft, sparking my idea for conveying this through my photography. Such as with numerous other Corvid species there are pronounced differences in skull shape relating to foraging type, with changes in elongated bill length, curvature and side orientation of the eyes the magpie has adapted to feed on carcasses. Today this unique bird is remembered for its unlucky characteristics and pestful nature rather then its intelligence, beauty and self-awareness, but is still common throughout pagan rituals. I photographed this Magpie skull on a sheet of glass over a light highlighting the surface and the under layer of the skull whilst lighting the details on top with a mirror. I kept a messy background, as I wanted it very urban and gothic whilst capturing all the intercut details of the skull.

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