Black Bird Bookstore

Art Opening: Air Space

Local photographer Kaleb Friend debuts his solo art show Air Space: Finding Connection and Peace with Wild Birds.

Artist Statement: "We humans are wired to see ourselves in others, even in animals. That's why a fleeting glance with a wild creature, or a pose that seems familiar, can spark a connection. In these brief moments, we imagine seeing a reflection of ourselves.

Birds, however, take this connection a step further. We might see ourselves in them, but we can't truly grasp their world. They can fly, see ultraviolet light, and sense the Earth's magnetic fields - things we can only dream of.

These encounters with nature are powerful. The city noise fades, replaced by birdsong and the rustle of wings. We're no longer bombarded by sights - instead, we focus on the beauty of feathers and the marvel of flight. The stress of daily life melts away as we simply observe and listen.

These images capture a feeling of peace and solitude, a place to escape to. I hope they inspire you to protect nature, but also to feel like you belong to it."

Kaleb Friend started birding as a way to spend time in nature, and originally used the camera just to remember what he'd seen. After about two years of learning the names and songs of local and migratory species in Washington, DC, he submitted his first e-Bird list and soon got to know the wonderful community of birders around the country. Today, in addition to photography, he writes about bird conservation and works to educate others about the role birds play in the environment. He is an ambassador for the American Bird Conservancy, where he shares his expertise, engages others, and takes action to benefit birds. You can see what he's been up to most recently at his Instagram account, @kalebfriendphotography and website.