David Molloy . Turn Earth for Turtle Doves

In the past 50 years, there have been dramatic losses in British bird populations. There are 67 critically endangered species, turtle doves are down 98%, tree sparrows 96%, starlings 89%…Many are at their limits due to human pressures on the landscape. Turn Earth for Turtle Doves uses direct action and photographic reflection to tackle this issue.

To make the work, I visit individuals who have a firm knowledge of the subject. I speak to scientists, activists, wardens, etc. I ask questions and offer assistance. This has included collecting data as well as volunteering at conservation teams. From these experiences, I have created photographs and text for a book.

In the book, I use the photo essay to create engagement in data-driven material. Inspired by bird song and the beauty of facts, information is shown in an arrangement that resembles poetry. I invite viewers to pose questions and form personal visions. Images and text stand alone, but visual links are played throughout. I employ the flow of a photo book to reflect balance and nature’s connectivity. Finally, I give people the agency to help at home by providing a bird box/feeder with every copy of the book. There is also a link for further instruction, it shows ways to shape outdoor spaces in bird-friendly ways.

Having made the book, I can hold conversations accompanied by a presentation. I can show the work to those of influence, for example, councils and urban planners. I will contact publishers with mutual interests, crowdfunding sites are an option too. I will use social media for promotion, my presentation lends well to this. I will make a project account and ask to feature on other pages.

I will print the book A5 landscape on an off-white paper. At this size, it can be carried, shown, and shared. The width of a landscape page spread will make it immersive. It will be hardback, stitched in sections, and covered in cloth. My name will appear on the spine. It will have a cut-out circle, revealing the picture on the inside page, designed to resemble looking into a nest box.

Given the opportunity to exhibit, I would focus on an audience who may be unaware of the perils our birds are facing. For example, an exhibition in a public space would bring a variety of viewers. I could use bird feed to bring other kinds of friends along.

The death of our birds is a pressing issue as it could be a sign of larger repercussions. In India, the loss of vultures caused a chain reaction, that led to an increase in rabies amongst humans. Afterall, it was our mistreatment of nature that let to COVID-19. Birds play essential roles in how we live our daily lives. As pollinators, they serve our climate, our crops, and our wellbeing. We must pay attention to the statistics. We must learn to live with nature. Because, well, how sad would it be? To lose those colourful creatures, that sing from treetops.


I am a Documentary Photographer, Writer, and Researcher.

I began working as a Photographer in 2013, after graduating from the University of Westminster with a BA in Mixed Media Fine Arts. I have since taken on many roles, contributing pictures to websites, businesses, national newspapers, and galleries. 
One of my proudest achievements is to have been nominated for the Zurich Portrait Prize in 2018, this meant exhibiting at the National Gallery of Ireland. Then the following year, I showed Static at the Museum of London for their first major photography show, London Nights. 

A key theme in my work is to hold concern for the future. Recently this has involved a focus on nature. I have been working collaboratively, and I use visual language to communicate scientific research.

For my writing, research interests are the photograph’s historical role as a medium between Art and Science. I have also been evaluating the successes and failures of nature photography in addressing conservation issues.

As of 2020, I have received an MA in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography from the University of the Arts London.