Renowned bird photographer Leila Jeffreys dedicates new exhibition to the budgie

By Australian Geographic 30 September 2019
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A sneak peek of some of the photographs that will be included in Leila Jeffreys’ upcoming exhibition High Society, which is dedicated to Australia’s native budgies.

THE STORY OF the Australian budgerigar is one of the most striking visual statements on how humans have played a determining role in evolution. A two-coloured bird that was native to Australia and was exported to England in 1840 eventually became one of the most popular domestic pets in the world. Today the budgerigar appears in numerous colours; some of them appearing almost unnatural. Many people have come to associate the budgerigar with being pets rather than a bird that has its origins in the wild.

Charles Darwin said: “There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.”

Read more: 4 things you didn’t know about Australia’s budgies

Leila Jeffreys High Society  is inspired by Charles Darwin. “High Society is the result of more than five years of planning and commitment; a pledge to making the impossible possible. It began when I noticed how a flock of native Australian budgerigars look like leaves on a tree. Looking closer I saw individuals, couples, and families – a secret High Society,” Leila says.

High Society will run from 16 October until 10 November at the Olsen Gallery in Sydney.