Campbell, California Photographer | Portraits of a Parakeet
Meet Sue, the androgynously named plum-headed parakeet who is male and whose real name is Sunshine. A long time ago, he flew into a window at my uncle's office, and my uncle brought him home to us. He's as old as I am and is expected to live past 30, much to my parents' dismay. (Sorry, Sue.) He only says two things – "Hi, Sweetie, whatcha doin'?" and "Want a treat" – but he occasionally imitates sounds on TV. He flirts with food-offerers with a slow two-step and a click of the tongue, his pupils spiraling in and out like a hypnotist's disk. He thrives on seedcakes, pellets, and the occasional carrot, and sleeps one-footed on a mini swing.
This shoot was challenging for many reasons. Bird models are harder to work with than you'd think. I didn't even intend to be in these photos, but he wouldn't perch on anything I wanted him to sit on, so naturally the best alternative was my head. Self-portraits are hard enough to begin with! I've worked with wind, harsh light, and tricky people, but Sue was by far the most difficult model I've run into. (I haven't had anyone fly away from me before.)