The Lunch Club

I've worked at a Leicester University for the last three years and close by the River Soar eases through the city providing a welcome lunchtime diversion for many people. Inevitably many stop to feed the local wildlife, there are numbers of Mute Swans which people migrate to but it's been the large pigeon colonies that have caught my attention and imagination.

I must admit that through my life I've largely regarded pigeons more or less as rats with wings. They are a much maligned creature, seen as vermin in many city centres, scavengers that would die trying to grab your last crumb. Over the last couple of years though I’ve enjoyed watching the local birds in Leicester because at closer quarters they make for incredibly interesting subjects, so I decided to finally break with my landscape traditions and set about developing a project that would test me technically too. And so The Lunch Club was born.

Most appealing to my eye is the flock mentality yet they demand and rarely impede each other's space, then there is the pure visual confusion and conundrum you get with large numbers of birds which at a casual glance seem identical (they're definitely as individually unique as you and I). In truth there is hierarchy, structure and organisation, individual character, comedy, greed, a presence of mind that’s both selfish and caring all at the same time. In many respects I genuinely see a huge number of human traits in these birds whether we would like to admit those or not, in fact I even found some research from the Imperial College London which suggested that the way pigeons think is very much aligned to our own thought processes. They are definitely not as stupid as we might automatically think and that makes for an incredibly appealing subject - once you throw in a pair of wings, it's a photographic challenge too.