Mrs. Ballard’s Parrots is a unique art book of photographs taken by Mrs. Ballard.  She had all these birds, mostly parrots of different kinds.  During the 1970’s, Mrs. Ballard made costumes for her birds, dressed them up, and took photos.

She made entire scenes for these costumed birdies, including props and backdrops (many of which are quite elaborate.) I find it astounding that her birds allowed her to dress them and that they would stand still for the photos. She must have trained them well, and given them their favorite treats as a reward.

Most of Mrs. Ballard’s work is a re-creation of popular 1970s pop culture.  Birds dressed up as Sonny and Cher. Birds dressed up in a scene from the movie “Patton”.  Birds on little motorcycles dressed up like the characters in “Easy Rider”.  Birds recreating popular commercials of the time. On and on and on.

What’s even more amazing to me is that the birds actually seem to be at least somewhat amused by participating in these photos.  Their eyes are bright, and they are standing up checking things out.  Maybe the birds figured that this was all some kind of a game.

Mrs. Ballard put her birds in costumes that covered her wings – something most birds absolutely will not tolerate. In some of the photos, a bird is lying down on his or her back, something completely unnatural for a bird.  Yet, her birds appear to be very willing to play along.

The first part of the book provides biographical information about Mrs. Ballard and her life, which, when paired with her photographs, depicts a very eccentric and interesting person.  From what I understand, this book isn’t very easy to get a hold of.  It’s definitely worth taking the time to track down.  You won’t see photos of birds like the ones Mrs. Ballard took anywhere else.

This book review of Mrs. Ballard’s Parrots – by Arne Svenson is a post written by Jen Thorpe on Book of Jen and is not allowed to be copied to other sites.

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