Thursday, August 7, 2014

Cherry carry

With the help of his brother Richard, Cherry Kearton (who, coincidentally enough, died on the steps of the BBC in 1940) became one of the world's first professional wildlife photographers. They began in the 1890s taking pictures of birds in their natural habitats in their home village of Thwaite, Yorkshire, U.K., with a box camera, but they took the risk of startling their quarry using the cumbersome apparatus. So they began to devise ways to disguise themselves in the field, as boulders, limestone walls, and trees. But they began with the ox blind Cherry is carrying in the image above. They obtained the hide from their butcher, had it prepared by a London taxidermist, outfitted its head with a camera, and hid inside for hours at great physical expense. Recalled Richard, "Once out of sheer agony I dropped from the bottom. Upon seeing me [the bird] sprang almost vertically in the air and, dropping among the grass, stared with outstretched neck in blank amazement."

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