THESE exquisite images show starlings swirling and swooping as one in dramatic, cloud-like flocks known as murmurations. Shot by Søren Solkær, better known for portraits of the likes of Björk and Paul McCartney, they are from a new collection of his photos.
As a child growing up in southern Denmark near the Wadden Sea, Solkær had been entranced by starling murmurations. Returning years later, he witnessed a large group of these birds being attacked by a peregrine falcon. “The shapes and formations the flock created, in order to scare off the attacking bird of prey, blew my mind – beautiful, dramatic and resembling a Japanese ink drawing or a piece of calligraphy,” he says.
After three years capturing the phenomenon, known as “black sun” in Denmark, he expanded the project to other parts of Europe. Shown in the main image is Black Sun #145, taken above Rome’s Piazza Venezia from a nearby rooftop. Moving clockwise, Black Sun #50, above, was taken in Glastonbury, UK, while below is Black Sun #230, photographed in Sardinia, Italy, early one morning as the birds left their roost.
“I believe that patterns in nature speak to us human beings on a deep, universal level,” says Solkær. “There is joy and recognition when we experience these pure forms. To me, they seem to form a kind of language that I believe many people can relate to. Ultimately, I am hoping to inspire a deeper connection with nature – and to ourselves.”