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Halcyon Song


Egg Thieves

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.

By Justin Coombes.


Self Portrait in a Convex Mirror


The Fall

Where The Heart First Opens

You can see Justin Coombes’s work in the new issue of Granta, Britain.

Competition: In this issue of Granta, Claire Shea brings us an image of a post-it note memorial in Peckham, Anthony Rush captures the mist lifting over a disused barracks in Omagh and here Justin Coombes takes us on a journey along Regents Canal, through the eyes of a kingfisher. What does your Britain look like? We'd love to see this country we call home from your perspective. Send us pictures of your Britain for a chance to be showcased by Granta online. Entries should be posted directly to our Tumblr. The top three will be chosen by Francesca Sears and Adrian Evans of Panos Pictures and published on and our associated social media. The three winners will also receive a copy of Granta 119: Britain. Competition closes on 14 June. By submitting your work you are thereby granting permission for it to be published, if selected by the judges.

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