"Bird Man" Lowery named Artist of the Month for December
TA-DA! Union Arts Council is proud to announce its Artist of the Month for December.* It’s nature photographer Richard Lowery, often called “the Bird Man” for the stunning avian images he captures.
Lowery is a well-known figure around Union Parish, usually seen with his pipe and driving cap, cracking jokes, and carrying one of his long-lens cameras. His love of birds and photography began early in life, he says. “I grew up in eastern Union Parish near the village of Haile, and had thousands of acres of woodlands for a playground. Birds, particularly purple martins, caught my attention. I found a birding field guide, but it was insufficient. My parents gave me a large book on birds for Christmas one year. I was so happy! I studied it thoroughly and found the information I wanted about all the birds I saw around me,” Lowery recalls. Then another big step for the youngster: he was given a camera. A very good one. A 35 mm Voigtlander. His journey to become “the Bird Man” had begun.
Lowery’s prowess with the camera eventually became a lifetime career as an x-ray technician and then a nuclear medicine technician, working in hospitals in several cities before his retirement. Along the way, his love of birds evolved into a love of falconry as a hobby. That passion for hawks led him into rehabilitation of injured birds and even training of hawks, most notably the training of the University of Louisiana-Monroe mascot, a red-shouldered hawk named Capri. Lowery sought out other falconers, particularly those in Russia, and developed friendships with several. Lowery traveled to Russia to learn more about techniques used there.
Once he and wife Suzanne retired to Downsville, Lowery ramped up his bird photography. For many years, his photos appeared each week in the Gazette newspaper, and were a popular item with readers. He has entered nature photos in nearly every Union Arts Council annual art competition since 2013, winning numerous ribbons along the way, including a People’s Choice award one year. He’s been invited to speak about his photography techniques several times, and loves to show how he is able to capture images of elusive creatures using stealth, camouflage (like his homemade ghillie suit), and high-tech photography equipment.
So we hail the “Bird Man,” and how his photographs warm the hearts of all who view his windows into Nature.
*NOTE: No Artist of the Month was named for November 2022.