Wendy Burton Nests

1. Broken nest Columbia County

Broken Nest : County Route 2 Columbia County, New York 2011

2. Nest Attlebury Hill

Nest: Attlebury Hill Road Dutchess County, New York 2010

3.Nest Acorns Hunns Lake

Nest: Acorns Hunns Lake Dutchess County, New York 2010

4.Nest Bulls Head Rd

Nest: Bulls Head Road Dutchess County, New York 2010

5. Nest Berries

Nest: Berries Dutchess County, New York 2010

6.Nest Woodstock

Nest: Woodstock Ulster County, New York 2010

7.Nest South Rd

Nest: South Road Dutchess County, New York 2010

8. Nest Bangall Amen

Nest: Bangall Amenia Road Dutchess County, New York 2010

12.Nest Cold Spring Rd

Nest: Cold Spring Road Dutchess County, New York 2010

13.Small nest, candlestick

Small Nest / Candlestick Hunns Lake Point Dutchess County, New York 2010

16.Nest Buttercup sanctuary

Nest: Buttercup Sanctuary Dutchess County, New York 2010

19.Nest Academy Hill

Nest: Academy Hill Dutchess County New York 2010

20.Nest Lemon Lane

Nest: Lemon Lane Dutchess County, New York 2011

21.Nest Williams Rd

Nest: Williams Road Dutchess County, New York 2011

23.Nest Stissing Mt Rd

Nest: Stissing Mountain Road Dutchess County, New York 2011

25.Nest Silver Nails

Nest: Silvernails Columbia County, New York 2011

26.Nest Claremont CC 2011

Nest: Claremont Columbia County, New York 2011

29.Nest Mt Ross

Nest: Mt. Ross Columbia County, New York 2011

For well over a decade I have photographed abandoned, derelict buildings: empty homes, failed factories, shuttered schools, churches devastated by Katrina. I have been drawn to the unspoken histories of these places—human presence evident even in its absence.   There is a subtle connection, a bridge, to the new work I began to make this fall.

The empty nests, so artfully concealed during our lush spring and summer months, revealed themselves this autumn, tucked into the skeletal forms of trees and bushes. Each one a small miracle of architecture and engineering: each one unique.

The hunt began: my eyes scanning tangles of branches and brambles, seeking the change in density that signaled the presence of these abandoned cups of mud and twig, grass and bark.  Some trail ribbon; others have discarded bits of plastic woven into their fabric. They are heart shaped, perfectly round, orderly, jumbled. Each nest somehow perfect, even in its imperfection.

What drew me to photograph them was their singular presence as distinctive sculptural objects.  Their fragility and delicacy combine with surprising durability.  The birds, no longer present, had left stunning artifacts of their energy and precision­—fueled by instinct and genetics in the timeless mission to attract a mate, create a home. My intention:  to create images in an interior space lit by natural light, in the tradition of still life painters working centuries ago.

Wendy Burton

Stanfordville, New York

February 2011

All images © courtesy of Wendy Burton

www.wendyburton.net