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Avian Magic

When thou seest an eagle, thou seest a portion of genius; lift up thy head!” ~William Blake

Jim Dunn, whose photographic art will be on display at Gallery 1855 throughout the month of September, is a premier wildlife photographer specializing in birds. His stunningly detailed photographs are widely seen in domestic and international field guides, Nature Conservancy publications, and recently in a portfolio of images for the University of California’s Natural Reserve System.

Dunn explains, “My passion for birds is visual – I am in thrall to the forms, textures, colors, and patterns that have evolved in our feathered cousins. Discovering that I have captured all of this in one of my images is more than sufficient compensation for the many hours spent cold, wet, and insect-bitten.” Viewing his work brings alive Dunn’s passion in the viewer, who is transported into a world of remarkable variety in size and shape of feathers, texture of bill and skin, and, most of all, the wild unfathomable eye.

From his youth, when he served as photographic and lab assistant to the legendary Jackson Stephens, to his adulthood, during which he developed camera and telemetry systems for various spacecraft including Voyager, the space shuttle, and the International Ultraviolet Explorer, Dunn has carefully cultivated his love of the visual image. In 1998, while documenting the life cycle of a nesting pair of red-tailed hawks in San Diego, Dunn began his transition to wildlife photography.

At the beginning, he muses, “ I could not imagine the profound impact it would have on my spirit. I discovered quickly that to make good images I would need to do more than find birds and photograph them – I would have to immerse myself in their environment. I would have to learn their behavior, their calls, and the subtle signals to which they respond. I would also have to learn patience and stillness, and how to be governed not by the ticking of a clock but rather by the slower pace of the seasons.”

Now you have the chance to immerse yourself in this world of avian magic and to meet Jim Dunn yourself at a free reception on Sunday, September 11th, from 1 PM to 4 PM at Gallery 1855, located in the office building on the historic grounds of the Davis Cemetery, 820 Pole line Road (corner of E. 8th St.) Those unable to attend the reception may view the work weekdays from 9 AM to 3 PM from September 1st to September 30 th at Gallery 1855. For further information, visit the cemetery website www.daviscemetery.org or call 530-756-7807. You can also check out  www.avian-images.com to find out more about Jim Dunn and his work. As Emily Dickinson puts it, “I hope you love birds too. It is economical. It saves going to heaven.”


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