Halcyon Song

Justin Coombes

A ‘halcyon’ is a mythical bird, often identified as a kingfisher, said to calm the wind and waves from its floating nest, and so was a natural choice of protagonist for my work, where I often fuse the fantastical and the everyday. Here, the pictures show the viewpoint of a female kingfisher as she searches for nesting sites along the length of London’s Regents Canal which runs along my commute from flat to studio.

When I first conceived of ‘Halcyon Song’, I was reading James Joyce’s Ulysses and wanted to make a project that similarly described a daily, familiar journey of some sort. From this, I developed the idea of the kingfisher’s search for a nest taking place over the course of a day, and this day being a microcosm of her world and a greater search for home and for meaning.


The full ‘Halcyon Song’ project is a series of photo-text vignettes that combines Justin Coombes’s photographs, a selection of which are shown here, with his poetry. It forms both an exhibition and book. Further information including details on sales of prints and books can be found at: www.paradiserow.com

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