Pigeons are such a common bird, especially in places like New York City, that’s it’s all too easy to ignore them instead of admiring them as we do other birds.
Some people even refer to them as “flying rats.”
But photographer Andrew Garn sees so much more when he looks New York’s pigeon population. He sees beauty, strength, and perseverance in one of the most hostile urban environments there is.
Garn gives pigeons the credit they’re due in his new book “The New York Pigeon: Behind the Feathers” where he delves into the history, anatomy, and majesty of the pigeon.
Garn told BuzzFeed that enjoys finding beauty where some people might not.
“I’ve always been drawn to underappreciated subject matters. For me, there’s a challenge in revealing the beauty in things that people often overlook,” Garn said. “It’s easy to photograph flowers or models, but it’s much harder to photograph things that people don’t consider glamorous.”
Garn says he was completely astounded by what he found when he started to study pigeons.
“In fact, the Journal of Experimental Biology has over 1,100 published studies about pigeons — everything from navigation to motion. And of course, psychologist B.F. Skinner’s behavior modification series came from working with pigeons,” Garn said.
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“He taught them to guide missiles with a better accuracy than humans and to even find people at sea with better accuracy than humans working with binoculars. Lately, pigeons have even been taught to read X-rays and can spot cancer in patients with a 99% accuracy rate, which is higher than most radiologists.”
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