Quote Originally Posted by darinwc View Post
Insects: The problem with insects is that we, as humans, have a hard time relating to them. You cant read the emotion on an insect, you cant tell what it is thinking.
It is a matter of being able to read certain aspects as denoting certain emotions. Very often we misread them because of our cultural dispositions - dolphins, I am sure, don't "smile" 24/7. My point it that such readings are another set of conventions or language games. As Michel HV pointed out above, it is indeed possible to read insects in such ways. In fact they are so weirdly different that they bring out very unique reactions in the viewer rather than the lion=majestic kind of prepackaged cultural dispositions.

I started shooting macro when I got my first SLR for two main reasons. First I wanted to learn good technique (and although I see Dan's point it is as rigorous an apprenticeship as any in photography) and I didn't have a car. I didn't have an interest in insects at all. But looking at them close up I have learned to appreciate their behaviour their gestures and habits - to the point that macro photography is the only reason I maintain an extensive 35mm system anymore and the coming of spring has become the most awaited event of the year for me. To be out on a cold morning looking for the little fellas on dewy blades of grass is as exhilarating a photographic experience if not more so than photographing Velvia sunsets with ND grads or creamy smooth long exposure waterfalls. It is really difficult to come up with true originality in any art form and macro is no different than landscapes or portraiture or any other genre.

As for emotion, that is too subjective to make any general comment on. The fly shot I posted above isn't at all emotionless for me - I worked hard to get the background smooth, to make the fly pop with a reflector (which can be seen reflected in the dew drop) just enough that it captures for me the early morning tranquility that I remember. As I say, it works for me. I have seen a lot of bad macros - but then I have seen a lot of plain bad photography of any kind - it is not something that is inherent in the genre.

Here's another shot that I tried to capture as I remember it. This little guy spent the night near the base of a log blade of grass and as the sun rose gradually struggled upwards to warm his wings. There is urgency, majesty and drama in the climb for me - to you it may just be a funny looking critter.






Fuzzy flowers: I am so friggin tired of fuzzy flowers. Well i've never been a fan of abstract art. So I guess i am a little biased. But again, i see a pic of a fuzzy flower and I feel nothing.
I personally agree with you on this one but I could say the same about a lot of "art" in the gallery :rolleyes:

Oh, BTW one of the examples posted previously was of a dandelion with one seed left. I liked this very much and it reminds me of my daughters and when I was young.
There you go - thank you

If you do not know it, I would highly recommend David Attenborough's series Life in the Undergrowth (along, of course, with Microcosmos mentioned before). It is simply stunning in terms of sheer photographic virtuosity but also in terms of beauty. There is a sequence of mating slugs, in episode III I think, which is the most beautiful, most passionate and most visually poetic sex scene I have ever encountered - and that includes humans! and hollywood's best shots! Now you probably think I am some hopeless insect nut, but do watch it - the smaller majority are beautiful. If we fail to capture that beauty, we need to try harder.

best,
-Anupam