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Photography

#birds#landscapes#Søren Solkær

Søren Solkær’s Enigmatic Photographs Capture Flocks of Starlings in Evening Skies

November 16, 2023

Kate Mothes

A black-and-white photograph of a marshland with a large starling murmuration overhead, reflected in the water.

“Black Sun #36.” All images © Søren Solkær, shared with permission

Since 2017, Danish photographer Søren Solkær has traveled Europe in search of the mesmerizing phenomenon of starling murmurations. Occurring before dusk during spring and autumn, cool weather and an instinct for safety gathers thousands of the black songbirds into enormous, undulating clouds. Solkær captures these enigmatic evening shows in his ongoing series Black Sun (previously), and a survey of these works opens at the National Nordic Museum in Seattle, Washington, next month.

The term “murmuration” is derived from starlings’ fluttering wings and flight calls, providing a distinct soundtrack to meadows and marshlands. Solkær remembers being fascinated by the birds as a child growing up in southern Denmark, where he would watch the creatures swoop through the sky near his home. The title Black Sun is derived from the Danish phrase “sort sol,” describing the way the aerial masses obscure the sun.

Coinciding with the exhibition, Solkær has just released a new monograph in the series titled Starling, documenting their movements in Ireland, Italy, Denmark, and The Netherlands. Starling is available for purchase now on Solkær’s website, and Black Sun will open December 9 and continue through March 10, 2024, in Seattle. Follow the photographer’s Instagram for more updates.

A photograph taken in the evening of a large starling murmuration.

“Black Sun #183, Aventoft, Denmark”

A photograph taken in the evening of a starling murmuration.

“Black Sun #145, Rome, Italy”

A photograph taken in the evening of a large starling murmuration.

“Black Sun #230, Sardinia, Italy”

Thousands of starlings flying in front of a mountainous landscape.

“Black Sun #237, Sardinia, Italy”

A photograph taken in the evening of a starling murmuration, partly illuminated by the setting sun.

“Black Sun #75, Aiguamolls de l’Empordá, Catalonia, Spain”

A black-and-white photograph of a starling murmuration.

“Black Sun #128, Houtwiel, Friesland, The Netherlands”

A photograph taken in the evening of a large starling murmuration above Rome.

“Black Sun #149, Rome, Italy”

#birds#landscapes#Søren Solkær

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