Prey - exhibited 2014

Leila Jeffreys 'Prey' series was exhibited at Purdy Hicks London and Olsen Gallery Sydney. Each large scale photograph features a portrait of bird of prey

'Darcy' Brown falcon

'Darcy' Brown falcon


Photograph on archival fibre based cotton rag paper
112 x 89 cm, 44 x 35 inch (standard)

'Darcy' Brown falcon 2014 ©Leila Jeffreys

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When I was a child I was enamoured with animals and saw them as people. I thought of them as my friends and imagined they could talk to me. As an adult, I sometimes have an encounter during my portrait work that takes me back to those childhood memories.

Meeting Darcy was one of those experiences where my imagination ran wild. Darcy is such a dramatic bird; I pictured a world-renowned thespian, a lover of Shakespeare. I was on the edge of my seat as the curtain was drawn, revealing Darcy on stage, spotlight shining on his tailcoat, cravat and pocket watch. He delivers a monologue and dazzles the audience with his electrifying performance. The real world disappears and he has us in the palm of his … claws.

Photographing Darcy was a wonderful experience. He knew to look directly into the camera, as if he’d done this all before and was a seasoned professional. It was such an intimate portrait session.

Brown Falcons are a small to medium-sized raptor with a characteristic tear-stripe below the eye. The Brown Falcon can be found throughout Australia with variations in their plumage colours depending on where they are found.

They like open grassland and agricultural areas with scattered trees, and can often be seen perched on top of a telegraph pole. In outback towns the birds can become quite tame and allow you to get quite close to them.