Dod Miller: Birdmen
The Birdman competition is the quintessence of British humour and eccentricity. Held each summer along the south coast of England, people dressed in avian related garb attempt to fly off piers. The furthest flight wins prize money, before splash landing in the water.
Standing on the pier, away from the crowd, Miller captured mixed feelings of excitement, pride, anxiety and fear. As each birdman walked away from the friendly and light atmosphere of the beach to get ready for their big jump, whilst nervously glancing down over the edge of the platform.
The old-fashioned twin-lens reflex, shooting black and white images in a square frame, could capture the eccentric birds with clarity as long as they stood perfectly still. Miller pictured each of them individually, focusing on their uniqueness, particularities and self-crafted narratives. Waves and clouds of rainy English summer days served as a backdrop to their performance, divided by the horizontal lines of the sea and the structure of the pier.
Miller’s Rolleiflex transformed the pier into a theatre stage, where anyone was convinced, just for a moment, that homemade feathers and newspaper wings could really fly.
- from the afterword by Julie Bonzon
Publisher: Plague Press, 2021
Author: Doctor Julie Bonzon
Photographer: Dod Miller
Graphic Design: Tom Booth Woodger
Reprographics: Colour & Books
Size: 24.5 x 25 cm