Larus Delawarensis Series
November 26, 2003 - January 18, 2004
The Ring-billed Gull, Larus Delawarensis, the seagull, is the subject and preoccupation of Toronto photographer Peter MacCallum.
Each year 50,000 pairs form a breeding colony on the Leslie Street Spit in Toronto, an artificial peninsula jutting into Lake Ontario.
The abundance of these birds and the ease with which they integrate into our urban habitat without altering their diurnal lifestyle is the subject of this photographic essay. Street-lamp perching is an adaptation unique to gulls. The unobstructed view gives the perched bird a better chance of finding food. The struggle with other gulls for this strategic advantage ensures the strongest will overwhelm the weakest for this enlightened perch and continue the gene for generations. MacCallum leaves the metaphoric and symbolic references open for the viewer to interpret, but creates a suspenseful tension among the elements of his compositions.
MacCallum approaches the subject from a minimalist perspective. The stark and emotionally cold steel and concrete environments contrast the noisy, raucous champions of the savage. The juxtaposition of the wild, the free, the feather-flesh-and-bone with the hard, constructed and artificial surroundings comments on a peculiar alienation. There is a notable absence of people and yet a strong relationship to architecture that make up the familiar terrain of our urban environment. The eerie emptiness of his images speak of a harsh, destitute world and an avian proliferation of purpose in post-pedestrian public places.