birds and words – £30
birds and words is a pretty apt title, because that’s exactly what this book is. lots of paintings of birds by charley harper, and alongside each one – some words about it. the book was originally published in 1974, so this edition is reproduced, with an introduction by todd oldham. it’s hardcover, 149 pages (on lovely, thick, quality paper) and alongside each bird residing on the right-hand page are some words on the opposite page.
before the images begin there’s also some words about charleys process, screen printing methods, the ford times and his love for nature and his work.
it’s kind of seperated into, not chapters as such, more ..sections from whence they were published in the ford times. they’re in chronological order, so you can see a slight progression in his work. the timeline spans from 1956 to 1960 so the change is negotiable, but to me it does appear slightly more minimal with less textural elements. still, and always so charmingly ‘charley’ though.
i really enjoy the descriptions alongside each bird. they share the same quirkiness and dynamic of charley harper’s work. you can just imagine these birds in their environments being observed by charley himself. they have a kind of childful feel of glee and wonderment to them and make me want to immerse myself into this world.
his work looks great anyway (though i am biased) but i think the super matte paper really works well with charleys style. although i think they’d ‘pop’more on slightly glossy paper, being able to touch the paper and ‘feel’ the images makes it a little more special to me.
as you may know by posts i’ve previously published, like a review of charley harper: an illustrated life and this old ‘cardboardcities crush‘ post i am a huge, and lifelong fan of the work of charley harper, so of course i was going to love this book. i would 100% recommend it to any charley fans, but also to anyone interested in minimal, mid-century animal and nature illustrations.