The PhotoBook

April 11, 2012

Lukas Felzmann – Swarm

Photographs copyright Lukas Felzmann 2011 published by Lars Muller Publishers

When first reading Lukas Felzmann’s recent photobook “Swarm”, my immediate recollection was a similar visual experience while in Rome. As the afternoon approached dusk, dense flocks of birds continue to create the most mesmerizing patterns overhead. From a distance, it appears as though there was an undulating plume of smoke, but upon approach, the pixelization materialized into feathers, wings and heads of a large mass of birds in flight.

Felzmann is investigating the aesthetics of group behaviors using as his subject birds which flock together during certain times of year in Central California. During these periods, a variety of birds will maintain a mysterious sense of order that provides a visual impression of organization, when logically it seems that none should exist.

Felzmann subject is relatively simple as Peter Pfrunder summarizes very nicely “Even if the pictures seem poor in content at first glance – just birds, sky, earth – they acquire a richness through their dense sequencing, the rhythm of near and far, the alternation of profusion and sparseness, the dynamic of small and large changes, and through the variety of that which is always the same.”

He provides a viewpoint from both the outside looking in at these swirling masses and what it might be to be on the inside looking out. That looking at a mob from a great distance is a completely different perspective from the middle or even on the edges. The view from the inside appears to be chaos, but with some underlying and potentially unsaid purpose: why do these groups move en-mass as they do? The view from the outside is a series of random shifting patterns, with some cohesiveness of the ebb and flow of the mass around a difficult to define and seemingly elusive heavy density in the centermost. Nevertheless, there is a beautiful poetry found in this abstract body of work.

The hardcover book has a dust cover and belly band. The essays are provided by Peter Pfrunder, Gordon H. Orians, Deborah M. Gordon, Wallace Stevens, and Lukas Felzmann.

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102 Comments »

  1. Beautiful pics. Thanks for sharing.

    Comment by Yukon Binoculars — April 11, 2012 @ 9:32 am

  2. interesting. it’s hard not to stop and watch when you see or hear a swarm of birds.

    Comment by The Simple Life of a Country Man's Wife — April 13, 2012 @ 4:53 pm

  3. What an interesting way to capture murmurations. If you’ve ever seen one in real life, you know it’s quite the experience.

    Comment by thelupinelibrarian — April 13, 2012 @ 4:56 pm

  4. Great shots of the birds, we get Starlings doing that swarming stuff between the piers in Brighton, England. Great tourist attraction…
    Andy O.

    Comment by andyo1976 — April 13, 2012 @ 5:04 pm

  5. this inspires me greatly to take more pics. and make a coffee table book !

    Comment by devonnerossartmedia — April 13, 2012 @ 5:12 pm

  6. Really neat. Swarms of birds have always captured my attention, there is something so beautiful about them. Apparently they captured Lukas attention as well. Looks like a a great book, thank you for sharing.

    Comment by Carlie Chew — April 13, 2012 @ 5:13 pm

  7. I really, really like this work! Woaw! I like it!

    Comment by benedicteparis — April 13, 2012 @ 5:14 pm

  8. Beautiful!

    Comment by eesh — April 13, 2012 @ 6:49 pm

  9. I love your blog :)

    Comment by Stitch Mode Blogger — April 13, 2012 @ 6:51 pm

  10. I’ve used those birds images for one of my art projects as a texture. Loved the black color on a white paper.

    Comment by Diana Alsindy — April 13, 2012 @ 7:02 pm

  11. Great photos! Nature is pretty amazing.

    Comment by Spark N Launch — April 13, 2012 @ 7:38 pm

  12. I love the silhouette that the shape of the birds give. A range of different proportions and angles that both create such a lovely asymmetric pattern. Well done! :)

    Comment by Stitch Mode Blogger — April 13, 2012 @ 7:57 pm

  13. Reblogged this on IndianInk.

    Comment by indiapixel — April 13, 2012 @ 8:36 pm

  14. This is so cool! I’d love to by this book; or perhaps even make on like it!
    It’s truly inspiring makes me want to run outside and start shooting :P
    Thanks for sharing!

    Katie
    http://katieraspberry.wordpress.com/

    Comment by Katie Raspberry — April 13, 2012 @ 8:43 pm

  15. Very great. I’ll find the book and get it. I found some lists of the various swarm names applied to specific birds and it is quite interesting(a gaggle of geese, a murmuration of starlings, A parliment of owls). I have included some of those lists here:

    http://www.birdnature.com/groupnames.html

    http://users.tinyonline.co.uk/gswithenbank/collnoun.htm

    Thanks. Keep Blogging, Keep Writing.

    Comment by informationforager — April 13, 2012 @ 8:51 pm

  16. Creation is so incrediblely mysterious, at times. :) Cool stuff; thanks for posting. :)

    Comment by Jason Ministries — April 13, 2012 @ 8:53 pm

  17. Very beautiful! What amazes me most is the fact that these birds move like one huge body; they go every which way without ever colliding.

    Comment by Willem Visser — April 13, 2012 @ 8:56 pm

  18. Scarriest book I’ve ever read via the internet.

    Comment by Posky — April 13, 2012 @ 9:02 pm

  19. Reblogged this on sambaltempoyak.

    Comment by Little Miss Grumpy Pants — April 13, 2012 @ 9:25 pm

  20. That is a LOT of birds! Reminds me of that movie where the birds attack.

    Comment by montanasouthernbelle — April 13, 2012 @ 9:44 pm

  21. Reblogged this on newschoolbook.

    Comment by newschoolillustration — April 13, 2012 @ 10:03 pm

  22. Cool – thanks for sharing! Congrats on being FP!

    Comment by cravesadventure — April 14, 2012 @ 1:14 am

  23. It reminds me of the Bible’s phrase at Proverbs 30:24 “instinctively wise.”

    Comment by Kenton Lewis — April 14, 2012 @ 1:50 am

  24. Nothing beats nature photography.

    Comment by Grumpa Joe — April 14, 2012 @ 2:04 am

  25. awesome concept with excellent execution, great post and images!

    Comment by Stan Shillingburg — April 14, 2012 @ 2:39 am

  26. I love “the pixelization materialized into feathers” fantastic description! My favorite is the 2nd to last but I agree with others that it made me a bit anxious to see that many birds at one time!

    Comment by Sarah Harris — April 14, 2012 @ 6:26 am

  27. When I first spotted this blog, I thought BEES!!!

    Comment by Talking With Bees — April 14, 2012 @ 6:35 am

  28. beautiful and awesome pics…

    Comment by dreamz infra — April 14, 2012 @ 7:43 am

  29. you can find this desing in some t-shirts of desigual

    Comment by dosaunecompany — April 14, 2012 @ 7:46 am

  30. Great Pics !

    Comment by wrands — April 14, 2012 @ 7:52 am

  31. ONE WORD, SEVEN LETTERS, TWO EXCLAMATION MARKS; AMAZING!!

    Comment by ammu0052 — April 14, 2012 @ 7:57 am

  32. Really i like the birds.. that to flying together fells like independent

    Comment by Flat at Bangalore — April 14, 2012 @ 8:13 am

  33. Reblogged this on nevertoooldforfairytales and commented:
    This is a cool book

    Comment by chocolatecate — April 14, 2012 @ 9:28 am

  34. I’ve seen the starlings awarming in Brighton too, so beautiful, it’s amazing! Great post!

    Comment by kirstyharrisart — April 14, 2012 @ 9:44 am

  35. Thanks for availing me such valuable & knowledgable kind of information.I go through your blog and found it fulfilling our needs, wants and demand

    Comment by Ashok Arora — April 14, 2012 @ 9:50 am

  36. very nice pics.
    ship management

    Comment by sultanhaider — April 14, 2012 @ 9:54 am

  37. great

    Comment by adrienlucca — April 14, 2012 @ 10:32 am

  38. murmurations – what a good word. In 37 years, i have only seen a couple of big ones first hand but they are very memorable, to catch them with a camera so well is an achievement

    Comment by phoduct — April 14, 2012 @ 10:36 am

  39. That’s beautiful!

    Comment by maudlin — April 14, 2012 @ 10:43 am

  40. This is a nice look at a lovely book. Have you seen the videos of murmurations (they are starlings, I think) on you tube? Here’s one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iRNqhi2ka9k – and if you search “murmuration” there are quite a few others that pop up. To see the flock in motion is astounding!

    Comment by annhaycox — April 14, 2012 @ 12:19 pm

  41. stunning swarm images

    Comment by visualremedy — April 14, 2012 @ 1:20 pm

  42. Great pics! I am really inspired!

    Comment by adhyalhosen — April 14, 2012 @ 1:40 pm

  43. Great review thanks for sharing. Any other books you recommend by Felzmann?

    Comment by specpro — April 14, 2012 @ 2:19 pm

  44. Great depiction…and a totally new take on this….carry on with the good work, sir!

    Comment by filmcamera999 — April 14, 2012 @ 3:32 pm

  45. [...] Lukas Felzmann – Swarm The PhotoBookPosts about Photography → [...]

    Pingback by wordpress.com~SansNom.html | achhoubi — April 14, 2012 @ 3:41 pm

  46. Great photos! Love the contrast.

    Comment by Chris Staehler — April 14, 2012 @ 4:06 pm

  47. Glad i read this, it gave me a new direction for me to to look at. http://ashokdmistry.com/2011/10/07/the-simple-assumption-between-us/

    Comment by ashokdmistry — April 14, 2012 @ 4:47 pm

  48. niceeee :D

    Comment by glisteningaura — April 14, 2012 @ 4:55 pm

  49. Reblogged this on Siobhan Callaghan.

    Comment by siobhancallaghan — April 14, 2012 @ 7:04 pm

  50. Great pics ?
    Wow photos ?
    Beautiful etc, etc ?

    All b-o-r-i-n-g stuff
    . . . film it !!

    Comment by guydo — April 14, 2012 @ 7:09 pm

  51. The changing light just before sunset gets birds into a flying tizzy. Sometimes it’s like they want just one more go around the sky before they have to head back to the nest. Happens the world over every sunset but I’ve never heard any scientific theory as to why it happens at that time, but it does. Unless its raining, then the birds are apparently otherwise occupied.

    Comment by journeymans — April 14, 2012 @ 9:13 pm

  52. Eariler I reviewed Lukas Felzmann’s award winning book “Waters in Between”, the first of his two projects investigating this Central region of California. If you like this “Swarm”, I suggest you check this one as well:
    http://thephotobook.wordpress.com/2009/12/01/lukas-felzmann-waters-in-between/

    Comment by Doug Stockdale — April 14, 2012 @ 10:36 pm

  53. kinda lame

    Comment by Andrew H. Kuharevicz — April 14, 2012 @ 11:32 pm

  54. Gorgeous work !

    Comment by A Rambling Poet — April 15, 2012 @ 12:30 am

  55. beautiful!

    Comment by islamthuhdude — April 15, 2012 @ 12:43 am

  56. Beautiful! I’ve never seen a swarm so big!

    Comment by Teresa M. — April 15, 2012 @ 1:49 am

  57. hmm. nice shots. :)

    Comment by pixelogist — April 15, 2012 @ 8:14 am

  58. Beautiful! I might buy this book. Thank you for sharing this with us!

    Comment by imegafon — April 15, 2012 @ 8:29 am

  59. Woww… just waaaawwww!

    Comment by indonesiabestplaces — April 15, 2012 @ 9:55 am

  60. This is fantastic! Love this concept.

    Comment by worktomend — April 15, 2012 @ 10:31 am

  61. wonderful book…

    Comment by elpulloverazul — April 15, 2012 @ 10:36 am

  62. Thanks for sharing.Beautiful book and images. reminds me when I lived in rome. Would stare at the sky amazed wondering how they moved in perfect secquency towards a unique direction, in such harmony. It must be instinct. maybe we could learn from them. tanks again.

    Comment by Sinem Karisir — April 15, 2012 @ 11:22 am

  63. That photo book reminds me of the bats on South Congress in Austin, TX. Every day at dusk they emerge in droves from under the South Congress bridge and fly off into the sky in a huge wave. People go and sit & watch this ritual, it was crazy to see.

    Comment by baker — April 15, 2012 @ 12:53 pm

  64. Reblogged this on 8BIT.

    Comment by John Saddington — April 15, 2012 @ 1:36 pm

  65. My only recollection of a swarm was in about 1980 when there was the most extraordinary infestation of ladybugs that simply descended on land and sea. We were on a ferry from England to Holland and some cars on that ferry looked red – because they were coated in ladybugs. Such an extraordinary sight. Your pictures are great!

    Comment by Julia — April 15, 2012 @ 2:41 pm

  66. These pictures are amazing!

    Comment by thezenit — April 15, 2012 @ 3:00 pm

  67. How beautiful the pics are.
    This is really a good work. I appreciate your efforts behind that.

    Comment by lijiujiu — April 15, 2012 @ 3:24 pm

  68. Wooooowww. Thanks for sharing. I would LOVE to own one of this book one day!! :)

    Comment by xuantian — April 15, 2012 @ 3:41 pm

  69. Reblogged this on i_tremble.

    Comment by ittremble — April 15, 2012 @ 5:06 pm

  70. Cute!

    Comment by omwaombara — April 15, 2012 @ 5:21 pm

  71. Wow – we have starlings that gather on a tree near our house. Years back, when they took to the skies, my young son asked if they were having a disco, as they looked like they were dancing. Now we try and guess what tune they are dancing to!! Thank you for reminding me of that memory :)

    Comment by Worldly Winds — April 15, 2012 @ 8:46 pm

  72. Incredible Pictures!

    Comment by Farmer Jim — April 15, 2012 @ 10:27 pm

  73. Comment by Kain Sage — April 15, 2012 @ 11:38 pm

  74. This is beautiful, Thank you for sharing!

    ♥ Love and light ♥

    ~ Jennifer

    Comment by A Story of Light — April 16, 2012 @ 12:30 am

  75. Thank you so much for sharing this book – I might never had heard of it otherwise. Beautiful post. Yay for FP! – Congrats.

    Comment by drawingpins — April 16, 2012 @ 1:18 am

  76. Moving.

    Comment by lukeandrewallstar — April 16, 2012 @ 3:03 am

  77. beautiful idea for a photobook. I love the optical illusions a swarm of birds can create when they take off out of a field.

    Comment by anesthetish — April 16, 2012 @ 5:12 am

  78. I personally love how you took what you read and found incredible bird flock images to match. Fantastic writing and review also. Keep up the blogging. Great job!

    Comment by angelique523 — April 16, 2012 @ 5:12 am

  79. Unique photobook with new type i first see…

    Comment by putuekaphotography — April 16, 2012 @ 7:02 am

  80. Intriguing photos! . . . Thank you for sharing!

    http://arabianmusings.wordpress.com/

    Comment by Michele LMS — April 16, 2012 @ 7:11 am

  81. great imagery. Cheers!

    Comment by PressSurfer — April 16, 2012 @ 7:30 am

  82. lovely thanks

    Comment by hazelbmcn — April 16, 2012 @ 9:51 am

  83. I really like this work. It’s unique. It’s cool.

    Comment by michaelangelowrites — April 16, 2012 @ 10:03 am

  84. love it…

    Comment by runwaymonk — April 16, 2012 @ 10:19 am

  85. Excellent Click !

    Comment by Ranadive Neelenchery — April 16, 2012 @ 11:35 am

  86. Great job! I am following you, can you follow me back please, I am sure you will like my blog: http://0blackrose.wordpress.com/ – Thanks in advance! :D

    Comment by 0blackrose — April 16, 2012 @ 11:39 am

  87. amazing photos.
    if you dont mind telling me but what kinda of camera do you prefer?

    Comment by MeKnuckles — April 16, 2012 @ 1:47 pm

  88. very unique!

    Comment by conservingquirky — April 16, 2012 @ 1:55 pm

  89. I’ve seen videos of the phenomenon and it’s pretty mesmerizing. Dizzying even.

    Comment by beginningstoendings — April 16, 2012 @ 2:11 pm

  90. soo beautiful!

    Comment by luciesimmons — April 16, 2012 @ 3:31 pm

  91. Thanks for availing me such valuable & knowledgable kind of information.I go through your blog and found it fulfilling our needs,wants and demand

    Comment by Mr. Vasant Sharma — April 17, 2012 @ 7:22 am

  92. beautiful

    Comment by juliacastorp — April 17, 2012 @ 8:21 am

  93. [...] source [...]

    Pingback by in response « turns of endearment — April 17, 2012 @ 7:16 pm

  94. Bro please don’t mind. Where can I get this book?

    Comment by imon — April 18, 2012 @ 7:14 am

  95. I want to film starlings in flight formation. lovely book and topic!

    Comment by nikicollinsphotography — April 18, 2012 @ 2:58 pm

  96. As to buyng the book, Lukas just emailed me to say it can be ordered by any bookstore, online its in stock at Photo-Eye, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles plus many other places. Someone else just sent me a note that they purchased their copy on Amazon.

    Cheers!

    Comment by Doug Stockdale — April 19, 2012 @ 4:45 am

  97. The photos very much remind me of the old movie, “The Birds”

    Comment by Frances antoinette — April 19, 2012 @ 12:34 pm

  98. Excellent!

    Comment by osmerus — April 29, 2012 @ 7:27 am

  99. thanks for this idea for photo book!

    Comment by tigermoo — May 22, 2012 @ 9:43 am

  100. [...] Lukas Felzmann, Swarm [...]

    Pingback by Cawl cawl! | word spacing: v.123787.834.02 — June 16, 2012 @ 12:21 am

  101. Sweet blog! I found it while searching on Yahoo News. Do
    you have any suggestions on how to get listed in Yahoo
    News? I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get there! Thank you

    Comment by www.paddlingiowa.com — March 6, 2013 @ 4:00 am

  102. Reblogged this on Nelson Gómez Photography.

    Comment by nelsongomezphotography — April 18, 2013 @ 2:45 am


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