By Michelle Park.
Relying on nothing more than tips from strangers, South African photographer Dillon Marsh traveled from one alleged enormous bird nest location to the next across the Southern Kalahari Desert. Marsh documented these monstrous avian homes–constructed around telephone poles, whisked and swirled, resembling an intricate haystack cotton candy on a stick– with a 4×5 view camera as his only comrade.
These giant communal nests are built by the sparrow-sized, foraging Social Weaver Birds in collaboration with—believe it, or not—humans. “people actively assisted the birds by attaching simple wire frames to the top of some of the poles, allowing for more purchase,” Marsh explains. In the extensive portfolio of work accumulated over his travels, his lens reframes oddities of South African landscape by vitalizing the otherwise beige and barren scenes. In another series, he features “trees that have died, but yet not fallen,” highlighting a trace of helpless, natural deaths in progress, situated within abandoned human infrastructures.
Marsh’s obsession with electric infrastructures is in keeping with his landscape photography background and seems to extend from his earlier series “Means To An End” through to his more recent body of work. He similarly documents hybrid objects, i.e. those constructed by technology through nature’s means, in “Invasive Species.”