From Bond girls to plutonium rods, Taryn Simon has photographed all things 007 to scrutinise how the blockbuster franchise taps into our fears and fantasies
As any 007 obsessive will tell you, before there was James Bond, secret agent, there was James Bond, ornithologist. When keen bird-watcher Ian Fleming
, who lived on a colonial-style estate in Jamaica, was trawling around for a suitable name – "brief, unromantic, Anglo-Saxon, and yet very masculine" – for his fictional hero, he settled on the author of one of his favourite non-fiction works, Birds of the West Indies. Published in 1936 by the other James Bond, it detailed the 400-plus bird species on the islands and soon became a classic work of reference.
Sixty years after the first appearance of Fleming's James Bond, photographer Taryn Simon has created a visual taxonomy of all things 007 – Bond girls, gadgets, cars, weapons – but taken Birds of the West Indies, by the other James Bond,