Oiseaux Vigilants

The photographs from this portfolio were made at the historic John Fell House in Allendale New Jersey. They are included in the book of the same name, Oiseaux Vigilants. A lot of people ask why I chose a title in the French language. After years of high school French, sometimes I think in the language, and when I think about birds, I always seem to use the word ‘Oiseaux.’

“I wasn’t planning on seeing the mansion the day I did, it was happenstance, a generous offer to venture inside a house originally built around the time of the American Revolution. Not much was yet restored to its original glory. I was drawn to one room decorated with fantastic Chinoiserie style wallpaper covered with hand-painted florals and intensely hued exotic birds. From the moment I stepped into that room I couldn’t stop thinking about the birds. That same day the concept for Oiseaux Vigilants, A Suburban Fairytale took shape.”

“This painted flock flaunts their independence and quirky personalities. A virtual volary of more than 40 fantastic birds, they quickly communicated their desires and intentions to me. Fully fledged, they wait until the sun goes down to flee precarious roosts, to venture through abandoned rooms and cavort with things from the past.”
—Wendy Erickson

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