Zak Waters | Birdmen
Zak Waters’ Birdmen series provides insight into the world of pigeon racing or pigeon fancying as it’s widely known. Pigeon racing is a unique sport with deep roots in traditional working-class communities. It thrived amongst Britain’s miners, shipbuilders, and iron and steel workers. The series documents Zak’s travels across the British Isles as he meets and observes the Birdmen brotherhood.
Zak “I grew up in a small working-class village in the North East, where many of the men were pigeon fanciers, breeding pigeons.” When his travels began with the Birdmen, club membership was in steep decline with many finding it increasingly difficult to attract new members, mainly from within their own families. The collapse of major industries such as coal mining, shipbuilding, and steelmaking was a significant factor in the decline of Birdmen in many parts of the UK.
The Birdmen are the last of a working-class breed through whom people can chart not only the decline of traditional industries in the UK, but the changes in the life of a community that is becoming lost forever.
Gallery first published 10th April, 2023. © Zak Waters / British Culture Archive. All rights reserved.
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