Worth A Thousand Words

A special picture

Xavi Bou makes the invisible visible.

What traces do birds leave behind when they fly through the air? This was the question I asked myself six years ago as an amateur photographer. I like to put the limits of human perception to the test and to make visible those moments that can’t be seen with the naked eye. In my series Ornitographies, I visualize the flapping wings of various types of birds, using a special technique, one that I acquired after years of training. For each image, I shoot between 250 and 1,000 pictures, which I subsequently merge into the final shot.
That’s how this special picture came into being. I shot it from the roof of my apartment building in Barcelona, just before a storm. It shows the flapping wings of an Alpine swift, my favorite bird. It spends 80 percent of its time in the air and even flies when it’s sleeping. The flapping of its wings draws hypnotic patterns, which look like random brushstrokes on the heavens.


Xavi Bou is a photographer and is a passionate hobby naturalist from Barcelona. He mostly photographs birds and makes the invisible visible.