Nick Orr & Feather Pictures
Photography, some say it is an art, others a science. I can sit and understand both sides of the argument; you need a degree of science to set the exposure and focus before taking the photograph, but equally, you need the art, or the creative ability, to compose the photograph in the first place. In short, you need both as they are mutually supportive of good photography.
But I would not need to ask if it was art or science of a very talented gent I met recently, he is Nick Orr often known as the feather picture man. But he is much more than that at his heart Nick is a true countryman, with an interest in all aspects of the countryside, its heritage and traditions. I met Nick following a brief chat on social media, like all good meetings it took place over a couple of pints and a pub lunch, before going back to watch him at work.
Each of Nick’s pictures is created from just a single feather, which must be cut and formed before being mounted on artboard, ready for framing. The feather sits proud of the board on pins, and this gives the 3D effect, but each pin must be pre-positioned before the feather can be cut. Watching Nick work, it is clear the process is a slow and delicate one, as he donned his magnifying goggles and used a precision surgical scalpel to cut and carve the single turkey feather, which can only be cut in one direction. Just one incorrect or wrong cut and you need to start again.
Nick’s life has been an incredible journey from growing up as a young boy in Derbyshire where he started shooting, to working in the Peak District National Park before joining the Royal Navy and latterly as a London commuter. But through all that he is a highly skilled and creative artist who find his inspiration and insights in the countryside he enjoys so deeply, as a true countryman.
So, is it art or science? For Nick the answer is easy, its art and astonishing talent, but one that is original, amazing to look at and highly desirable.