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Lukas Felzmann: Untitled From his series Swarm

Monique Pelser
12 January 2013

Review by Monique Pelser

A photographic archive of the flock movements of migrating blackbirds 2002

Print size unknown

Gelatine Silver print

From Lukas Felzmann’s book Swarm, this Untitled image completes the series of 25 great but unknown photographs.  It is a black and white landscape photograph taken from a far distance depicting a swarm of blackbirds in migration over the marshes under the Pacific Flyway, which is a major north-south route for migratory birds over America. 

This image conjures a Nanci Griffith folk song called Gulf Coast Highway where she sings of a freelance manual labourer who says that …when he dies he’ll catch a blackbird’s wing and he will fly away to heaven come some sweet Blue Bonnet spring… 

The Blue Bonnet is the Texas state flower and a token of that region and further more marks the coming of spring.  The arrival of the flowers mark time and are also symbolic of Texan identity as that is the only place in the world that they grow.

The flock of blackbirds, captured here in this image, are locked into a form which looks both put together and broken up by small dots. It makes one think of how birds swarm together and rely on each other, how they move through space and use the wind currents.  They, like the Blue Bonnets, mark time as they flock every year almost to the day.  The swarms also show movement and flow, despite being frozen in a photograph, the group of birds is dynamic.  

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