In the autumn of 2008 I encountered large flocks of Red-winged Blackbirds in eastern Long Island. Watching the birds feed and fly in unison, I was mesmerized. I experienced a visceral connection to how us humans flock together in search of belonging and how birds in my childhood spent in communist Ukraine were symbols of freedom and migration. Thus began my obsession with the subject. Since then I have traveled to India, Vietnam, China, and Iceland, across Europe, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean islands in search of migrating birds.
Birds are not an easy subject to photograph. Rapid and fleeting, they are often difficult to find and easy to lose sight of. I, however, enjoy the process tremendously. The quiet time I spend alone waiting, listening, and observing is not only an exercise of patience and awareness, but also an opportunity for introspection.
For me, the Aves series has become an ongoing exploration of how we relate to the visual experience emotionally. Images represent reality in symbols. Like memories and dreams, they reveal themselves in the physical world, asserting meaning into the mental activities of waking life. Using migratory birds as my subject, I attempt to engage the viewer through self-reflection by evoking memory, facilitating the sensation of feeling, and confronting the awareness of their own state of being.
When I examine my images in solitude, the emotions come flooding in and the visual experience becomes an emotional one.