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Blue-Throated Hummingbird (Male)

Eliot Porter (American, 1901–1990)
Porter’s favored subject was nature, and his observation of it was both detail-oriented and meditative. He often waited patiently, for hours on end, for a bird to settle into the tree on which his camera was focused. He was one of the first photographers to embrace Kodachrome, an early color film developed in the mid-1930s that was extremely fugitive (subject to color change and fading) and difficult to print. This film was slow to expose under natural light conditions, so photographing quickly moving birds required artificial light, in this case a series of strobes synced with Porter’s camera. The flash gives the pictures their otherworldly and almost painterly quality, but Porter amplified this in the darkroom, too, deepening the blue and green hues during the printing process.

Object Details

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