I’ve started work on a new project in which I’ll photograph critically endangered and extinct insects at museums. With this project, I hope to mark the lives and passing of often overlooked species, to emphasize the importance of biodiversity and the link to human life, and to raise awareness of actions we can take to promote insect survival. I’m working on permissions to photograph various collections, and have had some success.
Scientists believe we are witnessing massive extinctions of insects, and I want to serve as a witness and documentarian of this sad state. There are millions of insect species in the world and not enough entomologists or funding to record them all, and certainly not enough resources to document the loss of entire species. But I can gather information that is known, from many museums, into a photographic record.
I hope to add my voice to the many scientists, photographers and writers who have been and/or currently are documenting the loss of animal life: Joel Sartore, Tim Flach, Jonathan Baillie, Susan Middleton, Cristina Mittermeier and Nick Brandt, to name a few. And then there are literary heroes: Henry David Thoreau, Rachel Carson, John Muir, Ad Abbey, Annie Dillard, Bill McKibben, Wendell Berry and the great scientist and writer E.O. Wilson.
I’ll be traveling to James Hajicek and Carol Panaro Smith’s Alchemy Studio Spirit Into Matter workshop in Benabbio, Italy, this week, where I’ll work with Jace Graf to make some beautiful accordion books for this project. At the moment, I’ll be including images I’ve been shooting in museums over the past couple of years, just to illustrate what I imagine this part of the project will look like.
So stay tuned …