I thought I’d share this photo of four baby birds by Arthur Radclyffe Dugmore. I came across it in Camera Work – The Complete Photographs. Camera Work was a photographic journal published by Alfred Stieglitz between 1903 and 1917. The image in the book is better quality. I had to scan this, so it has a dark streak down the left side where it is attached to the gutter. There is extreme grain in this scan that is not in the book image.
I couldn’t find much information about Dugmore (1870-1955). He was one of the first wildlife photographers. Born in Ireland, he moved to New York and became a photographer and painter. He accomplished a high level of expertise to be included in Camera Work, as Stieglitz was quite the perfectionist when choosing work for his publication.
I think the reason I am attracted to this image is because of the curious lighting. It appears as if it is a studio set up with backlighting as well as light from the bottom. The background could be sky or a fabric backdrop. You would not expect this type of lighting with wild birds. Did these wild baby birds cooperate while lighting was placed in their outdoor setting? Or were they captured, photographed, and released? Guess we will never know.