This project of mine IS NOT a wildlife project but a PORTRAIT FINE ART project to capture the personality of the bird and the spirit that animates them through poses and looks, through the eyes, the most important organ for these birds.
I live near one of the largest birds of prey reception and training centers in Europe which is located right here where I am now, at the Lmadskron castle in Austria. To finance the reception center for injured birds of prey, some of these animals housed here are often used for TV and film productions. Like the Harry Potter owl!
I have always been fascinated by these great birds of prey, I like to practice birdwatching and walking often in montagan or in the woods it has happened to me more than once to meet them closely. I remember once when I caught a barn owl trapped inside an abandoned farmhouse. What a challenge to capture and free him! My project is the combination of different passions, that for birds of prey, for photography and for the spiritual world. The same title – Birds of Pre(a)y – is a play -words and pronunciation in English for the word “prey” which means animal that other animal catch and the word “pray” spiritual and religious meaning; they are same pronounced! I read some books on shamanism and on the power animals of shamans and here I came up with the idea of creating a series of mystical portraits, my point of view on the subject: prayer animals! Portraits of animals symbolizing the shamanic spiritual world, which are bears, wolves, deer, weasels and snakes, but above all they are the birds of prey that capture the collective imagination. When it comes to the power animal, two species come to mind, the wolf and the eagle! That’s why I started the raptors project. Nature is always a source of wisdom and teaching if only we wanted to observe it better.
I photographed these beautiful and proud animals looking for them among the farms in Italy, Austria and Switzerland, setting up a portable studio because only in this way in my opinion it was possible to establish a relationship between me and them and therefore capture that light, that look in the eyes ..
The Animal of Power is one of the “invisible” helpers of the practitioner of shamanism. He is one of the most important allies who accompanies and guides him in the shamanic path together with his ancestors, any masters, elemental spirits and divinities. . “When an animal of power chooses us, a sort of symbiotic bond is created that allows us to call it back whenever we need it as an invisible presence but one that provides support and protection. The invitation, therefore, is to recover contact with nature, try to observe it and listen to it as much as possible. Even if you will not be able to study a bear or a wolf closely, a renewed connection with nature will help you a lot to grasp its details. ”
I thought of photographing animals in captivity was the best way to capture the special light that illuminates for a moment bird’s eyes and that in my opinion could not be captured in nature because in my case a relationship is established between photographer and animal even for a few minutes. the animal becomes curious and enters into a relationship, a non-verbal communication impossible in nature.
My intention is to continue and expand the project with portraits of reptiles and other types of birds. Here is the description of the “power” of some of these splendid creatures according to shamanic “medicine”:
Eagle – It is the bird that is able to fly to greater heights, therefore it has an overview of reality, but at the same time is able, with its acute vision, to see tiny details on the earth. The eagle is an Animal of Power that is often able to give an overview of things, wide-ranging when you feel trapped in some situation. It can therefore be helpful to have new perspectives on a problem, to give a broad breath to stagnant, blocked situations. Flying high and breathing the thin air of high altitude cleanses the blood and restores real clarity to the mind. It is a bird of prey, with a panoramic view it is able to swoop quickly at the prey that is located below, its claws are powerful tools for grabbing the target.
Falco – The Messenger. It allows you to develop inner clarity and become more attentive to the signals the universe is sending us. With its perfect vision it helps us to know exactly where we are. It favors communication and creativity.
Owl – This bird is able to see in the dark. For this reason it has always been honored since ancient times. Seeing in the dark is what even the shaman can do, so the owl is one of the power animals that shamans are most connected to. The owl is a nocturnal animal, it is known that the souls of the deceased are brought back to the sky during the nocturnal times, for this reason the owl is often considered a psychopomp animal, that is, it leads the souls of the deceased to the passing towards the light. In addition to this important function, the time of the night is the time of dreams and intuitions, the owl therefore also opens up to these qualities, so sought after by shamans.