BAAC presents new exhibition documenting habitats of imperiled birds

Featured image: “ Plate 405. Semipalmated Sandpiper,” infrared photography, Ian Campbell

The Batesville Area Arts Council (BAAC) is presenting “After Birds,” an exhibition by Ian Campbell, at the BAAC Gallery on Main, located at 226 E. Main St. through April 17, 2021.

Campbell is an assistant professor of art at Lyon College. “After Birds” is an ongoing series of infrared photographs documenting the habitats of extinct, endangered, and disappearing species of American birds. Each photograph borrows its title and aspects of its design from a corresponding image from John James Audubon’s “Birds of America” (1827-1838, Havell edition). The sites depicted are locations where Campbell has personally observed (or attempted to observe) a given species of bird.

Campbell describes this body of work as: “…a response to John James Audubon’s landmark suite of bird paintings. Each of my images is inspired by and builds upon an Audubon illustration, borrowing details of composition and design to create a dialog between past, present, and future. Yet the birds themselves are conspicuously absent from my photographs. Referencing Audubon is not just about paying tribute to a great artist, it is also a cautionary tale. Out of the 435 species in Birds of America, seven species and two subspecies are extinct as a result of human actions. Dozens more are endangered, threatened, or rapidly declining in numbers. A recent study published in Science found that the North American bird population has dropped by 3 billion birds, or 29 percent, since the 1970s. Even some birds that are still relatively common are rapidly disappearing. The reasons are complex: habitat loss, pollution, poaching, invasive species, global warming, and other factors add up to a very uncertain future for many birds. Rachel Carson began ‘Silent Spring’ by asking her readers to imagine a spring without birdsong. Like Carson, I am crafting ‘a fable for tomorrow.’ My goal is to visualize a landscape devoid of avian life, haunted by the ghosts of lost birds.”

Stop by to view this exhibition during BAAC’s regular gallery hours, Tuesday – Friday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.


“Plate 27. Red-headed Woodpecker,” infrared photography.

“Plate 26. Carolina Parrot (Carolina Parakeet),” infrared photography.

Images and info via Batesville Area Arts Council

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