Billy Barraclough

Billy Barraclough, ‘Murmurations’, Besides Press, 2021.

‘Murmurations’ by Billy Barraclough is, in its simplest expression, a study of the shape and form of starling murmurations, which he observed daily throughout winter 2020-21. The project is presented alongside newly commissioned poetry by writer Lue Mac.

Billy’s desire to visit this mass gathering of birds came about during the first lockdown of 2020, after he opened a box of photographs left behind by his late father, John Barraclough. In that archive, Billy stumbled upon an album of pictures that showed him as a young boy chasing starlings on the beach in Blackpool.

As the winter lockdown hit, Billy began visiting a local murmuration as an almost daily ritual to reconnect with nature; the long trek to the wetlands serving as a moment to reflect on the surreal situation imposed by the pandemic. At this time of worldwide crisis – when individuals are asked to sacrifice their freedoms for the sake of something larger – murmurations can be seen as an apt metaphor.

“The ‘normal’ functioning of nature and the environment had continued and despite our lockdowns, mask wearing, and mass sanitisation, the trees were still losing their leaves, the birds were still migrating for winter and the murmurations were still happening in the same place and same time every day.”

Freezing a moment from the murmurations’ ever-shifting flow creates something distinct from the experience itself. The images become sculptural; ever-morphing forms are rendered static, and we’re able to study the birds’ unique creation as it existed for only a split second. The form and flow of the book echoes the natural progression of the starlings as they murmurate: the images start out sparse, with just a few birds gathering, and then reach a crescendo before quieting back down as the starlings go to roost.

The tone is beautifully complemented by a series of poems written by Lue Mac, reflecting on their own experience of watching starlings murmurate at a beach near their home in rural Dorset, during the same time that Barraclough was making his photographs. The resulting poems touch on themes of separation, reconnection, the moment of touch, and life across seasons.


Billy Barraclough, Murmurations

Besides Press, 2021

Standard Edition
Saddle stitch binding
Screen printed soft cover
22 pages with 2 gatefolds and 2 large fold-out sections
210mm x 280mm
First edition of 225

Special Edition I
Signed copy of Murmurations special edition of 50
With 8×10” giclée print (edition of 40)

Special Edition II
Signed copy of Murmurations special edition of 50
With a triptych of 8×10” giclée prints
(edition of 10)


Order Book


Billy Barraclough, ‘Murmurations’, Besides Press, 2021.

Billy Barraclough, ‘Murmurations’, Besides Press, 2021.

Billy Barraclough, ‘Murmurations’, Besides Press, 2021.

Billy Barraclough, ‘Murmurations’, Besides Press, 2021.