Leila Jeffreys is a photographer and a bird-lover. The Sydney-based photographer has always had an affinity for wildlife, which started at a young age when she used to rescue animals and nurse them back to health. She says, “As I’ve grown, I’ve watched the human population explode worldwide so I wanted to remind us all about the ‘little people’ that also share the planet. Like us they search for food and shelter, they form relationships, they raise offspring, they defend their territory, they play and they sing. They are magnificent creatures that enrich our lives if you stop to notice them and I believe it’s our responsibility to ensure they will always have a home in the wild.”
Jeffreys’ first notable series documented an extensive collection of budgerigar birds, also known as parakeets. Her successful execution of these up close and personal in-studio portraits was a great success, and so she pursued a second body of work which focuses on the Australian native, the Cockatoo.
Regardless of the species, Jeffreys has a knack for capturing her subjects’ unique personalities, which are defined both by physical appearance as well as the way in which they approach the camera. Some of the feathered friends appear bold and excited, while others seem tentative and shy. Jeffreys’ close proximity and presentation allows viewers to stare into the eyes of these gorgeous creatures and to consider each individual personality. She says, “These portraits are printed human size so that people will view the animals from their perspective, not ours. This point of view reveals more fully their beauty and individuality.”