Wednesday, December 29, 2010


While looking up images for my previous insect related post, I came across the work of Cornelia Hesse-Honegger. She worked as a Scientific Illustrator at the Natural History Museum at the University of Zurich for 25 years. She began collecting and painting Leaf Bugs (Heteroptera) in 1969, and after the Chernobyl incident began recording the damage that nuclear radiation was having on these insects.She has since then studied and painted insects near functioning nuclear power stations in Europe and the U.S. and concluded that even low levels of radiation are enough to cause morphologically disturbed insects.Heteroptera (2001)and Future's Mirror (1999) are books of illustrations and essays highlighting the physiological effects of radiation. In her biography Hesse-Honegger points out the lack of published findings on these effects and implores independent scientific study in this field.She has also published a book of her images on Silk. She began designing fabric for Swiss fashion houses Akris and Fabric Frontline. I can just imagine that the medium of silk would lend itself so perfectly to her lush images. Even in photograph the richness of colour makes my heart beat a little faster.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


I was immediately drawn to the image for Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo. Although at the time I wasn't sure if it would be a documentary or a monster movie or perhaps something similar to 'Kiss of the Spider Woman'. But documentary it is, highlighting Japan's interest in Insects.

I find that our western attitude to things that creep and crawl is far from positive. I'm sure that very few children I know would be saving up for a beetle of any kind.
But insects do possess an alien beauty. Different from us in almost every way possible they have inspired the horrific and the exquisite.

Christopher Marley photographs insects and such a way that they appear as beautiful jewels. In mosaic photos such as the one above, they are not ordered by taxonomy, but arranged only for aesthetics.
In the single photos such as the one above, the beetles look more like mounted specimens. And indeed, specimens of this Macrodontia Cervicorniscan grow very large and collect a great deal of money.
I think I prefer the idea of a private collector buying one of Morley's photos than an actual specimen.