The following is a brief statement about the meaning within my fine art nature photography work. The Butterfly Habitat Series consists of limited editions of three to five prints.
My macro nature photography, sometimes also referred to as close-up photography, is magical because it takes us into a smaller universe of vibrant colors, exquisite details and extraordinary patterns that can literally take your breath away. This is especially the case when doing macrophotography of wildflowers and butterflies which provide an incredible variety of shapes and colors that could potentially keep me engaged for a lifetime. Macrophotography can be challenging because it involves moving in close and magnifying what is there beyond our normal perception of it. Macrophotography is magical realism as seen through other eyes.
Is there anyone who doesn’t admire the flight of a spring butterfly? Flitting from flower to flower to plant, and basking in the warm sun. The butterfly is supreme in the animal kingdom for possessing those qualities we call grace, agility, and serenity. But trouble is brewing in the insect world and it may affect even these harmless and uplifting creatures. The Department of the Interior has nineteen butterflies on their North American endangered species list. Dr. Paul Opler, at the Office of Endangered Species, states that it is not the butterfly collectors who have made the species endangered of extinction, but housing development and urban sprawl. Most butterflies depend on a solitary plant for its food. If land is bulldozed and plants destroyed, the butterflies disappear – forever. There are many butterflies – 475 species alone in North America, making them the second largest group in the animal kingdom, second to beetles. And because of their numbers, we don’t see their importance. Environmentalists know that because the butterfly is so fragile it is an important indicator of the entire ecosystem – and that includes humans. The Xerces Society, a butterfly’s preservation group, puts it this way: “Butterflies, since they are so conspicuous and ecologically vulnerable, serve as excellent indicators of ecosystem health”. Recent research has shown that butterflies have declined more rapidly than birds and plants emphasizing their potential role as indicators. Recent research has shown that butterflies have declined more rapidly than birds and plants emphasizing their potential role as indicators. Study land use policies near you and be alert for habitat destruction. Ask yourself, “How are butterflies faring in my community”.
These images of wildlife habitat are our lost or incomplete memory of our environment. When our habitat for wildlife disappears all we will have is an incomplete image in our memory. The folds of these images represent our lost memory. By folding out the habitat, I want to point out the importance of safeguarding our environment before we lose valuable species.
By folding out the habitat I erase our memory. The habitat of the past is forgotten. Our climate and environment is changing. Is our natural environment of the past forgotten? Like the folds of the curtain, our habitat past is hidden. Many of us have a poor memory of our past environment. I hope these folding’s of our habitat energize our commitment to bring back past environments and habitats. Study land use policies near you and be alert for habitat destruction.
The subject of this series of work is our vanishing habitat. Our stored memory of past habitats leaks. These images in a bottle are an effort to store past environments. When a habitat is destroyed due to human development, we lose the natural environment. The bottle is a symbol for storage. The paradox is that we want to save the natural environment but develop an urban area.The butterflies and their environment are photographed in my backyard flower garden in Papillion Nebraska. I photographed the glass containers in a studio setting. I merge the bottle and the butterfly image in photoshop. The resulting image gives you that contained feeling and the permeance of memory. The reality is that we cannot bottle lost habitat. How much damage we are doing as a species to the planet? I am trying to get you to think about what we are doing to the world around us. If we forget what used to be, then we have lost the ability to be sensitive to our surroundings. Study land use policies near you and be alert for habitat destruction. Ask yourself, “How are butterflies faring in my community”.
There is a sense of awe, wonderment, and there is always an uncertainty about what will reveal itself in these close-up photos. Portraiture often attempts to capture the essence of the sitter—their emotions, their personality, their thoughts. For me bird subjects offer as much dynamic range and emotional intimacy as human models. These bird portraits connect the human viewer and the avian sitter—forging a deep bond between human and animal kingdom. These intimate bird portraits are perfectly composed to encourage eye contact and empathy. In a compositional sense, I want these expressive portraits to convey the subtleties and bold features of birds in Nebraska. to lead people to the most empathetic details. I believe this work will build a connection between humans and other members of the animal kingdom. This work will help decenter the human experience, opening minds to consider how we relate to other animals and their experiences on Earth.
These images feature different birds treated with the same care as any human model. Placed against a plain background, each subject becomes a highly stylized object of beauty that expresses its own unique personality. In this way, my portraits strike an emotional chord with their ability to draw a line between animal and human relationships. Each bird captures its unique physiognomy and allows their character to shine through. By taking these animals out of their wild context, I work between spontaneity and careful planning. It's this controlled chaos of working with live animals that drives me to be creative. No matter how much a shoot is researched and organized, my subjects have their own minds and spirits, which means that I must be open to any result.