As the photo director at Martha Stewart Living, I am constantly looking through photography books in my office, but my recent obsession is Sharon Beals’ book, Nests: Fifty Nests and the Birds that Built Them. The nests are photographed simply against black and I am struck by the creativity and effort of these animals. I love that the nests are sculptural and tell stories about the creatures who built them.
The house wren nest is woven from twigs stuffed with bits of fabric, thread and paper. I imagine a brave bird stealing from some household. The cuplike nest of Anna’s hummingbird is fortified with spider webs and moss. Who knew that spider web was a building material! I am impressed by their resourcefulness. There is a nest made from an abandoned honeycomb and one on the ground lined with seashells.
Reading Sharon’s introduction, it is clear that one of her goals, beyond photography, is to make people more aware of birds and their lives. How could I not become entranced? Her photographs make me feel as if I have been invited into a secret world made by industrious artists.
You can find more of Sharon’s work on her site, where she also sells individual prints.
Jennifer Miller is the Photo Director at Martha Stewart Living. Her perfect Sunday includes going to Chao Thai Too in Queens for an early dinner with her husband and her twin boys.