Thursday, 19 June 2014

Bill Oddie

Bird watching brought me to photography, as a teenager I was taught that standing still and quietly in a landscape would be rewarded . My greatest achievement was capturing a rare and very shy Water rail at a conservation area near where we lived. I waited all day in a hide with my father's old russian Zenit and a fixed 200mm lens; it only appeared for a few seconds but i was able to grab a bad photograph of it. None the less the fine line between success and failure in that fleeting moment was hugely addictive. I progressed to setting up cameras and flashes near to garden bird feeders and remotely triggering them from the kitchen.

I was grieving for the loss of my ability to see small birds when my eyesight failed in 2011 so I started to learn the songs instead; luckily my sight has improved enough to regain the connection to my youth, I was watching Kites in the Chilterns last weekend. I wonder if happiness is only defined as this re-connection to childhood memory; I hope it is not, for the sake of those who only have terrible early memories or anyone struggling to find peace as adults.

Bill Oddie has been very open about his periods of depression, which I hope can only help with the understanding of the condition and offer support to others. He is a lovely man and passionate campaigner for birds and wildlife.

The National Portrait Gallery has acquired his portrait for the Permanent Collection.

Bill Oddie, London Wetlands Centre for Radio Times © Richard Ansett 2014

No comments:

Post a Comment