From everyday moments to those that make history, street photography has the ability to capture the true essence of human nature. Whether it’s a glare, a glance, an uncanny pose or a frame so perfectly composed it’s hard to believe that it wasn’t staged, this form of photography captures society at its best and its worst.
For British photographer Josh Edgoose, however, people aren’t his main focus. Instead, he turns his lens to our flying companions, as seen in his latest series The Birds. “When I was out and about on walks, I just kept finding myself taking pictures that feature pigeons. They can be quite a simple way of making a picture a bit more dynamic,” he tells It’s Nice That. “I noticed I had built up a little set over a few years and thought they kind of work together.”
Within The Birds, you stumble into a land dominated by pigeons. Here, taken on the recognisable streets of London, the humans fall into the background and the birds take centre stage as they look – rather unnervingly – into the camera. This is evident in a pond scene, where a bird takes flight as a cat in a harness tries to approach it with subtlety – the people, on the other hand, merge into the backdrop as they continue their daily lives taking pictures on their iPhones and meeting for a chit-chat by the water. Meanwhile, a pigeon sits in the foreground and stares in such a manner that it makes you feel a little uneasy. In another image, a pigeon is somewhat personified as it strolls down the street, and another sees a bird wait for the train as its fellow human reads the paper. This kind of everyday dynamism allows the viewer to unpick the layers and fully immerse themselves in the narrative – that is, one where birds appear to rule the world.
A photographer relatively new to the profession, Josh has spent the past five years capturing his surroundings. “I’ve been taking pictures on and off for years,” he says. “I had to buy a DSLR about five years ago to take product shots for a clothing business that I was running at the time, but ended up enjoying the photography more than the product design I was doing. I ended up carrying my camera with me everywhere and just posted the pictures I took on Instagram – that’s it basically.”
And by citing his inspirations as photo books, Instagram, podcasts, films and “mostly YouTube at the moment”, Josh’s interests in digital art and culture have clearly defined his photographic practice, whereby snapshot imagery and carefully curated colour palettes take form in a humorous series filled with wit, charm and bird-like behaviour.
While shooting The Birds, Josh explains how it was a simple process achieved by “walking and keeping [his] eyes peeled for any kind of feathered friend.” He describes it as a successful form of therapeutic release and one that he uses “mostly to relax”. He adds: “I enjoy going for long walks and I found myself taking the camera with me. It helps me sleep and de-stress. Any pictures taken along the way are a lucky side effect.”