A collaborative exhibition by Marcus DeSieno, Daniel Kariko, Angela Franks Wells, and Joshua White
Insects represent almost 85% of all known animal species. Taxonomists name and describe about 2000 species of insects annually. There are millions of insects around us everyday. The nature of our interaction with them varies greatly, but our fascination with their diversity and morphology is a constant between the four of us.
Whether chasing lightening bugs with glass jar in the field beside your home, or analyzing the physical and microscopic relationship we have with them; our experience with insects is a universal human activity. Through various photographic processes we each investigate the captivating micro-world and pay homage to the history of scientific and artistic discovery.
“Parasites” is an ongoing body of photographic work investigating a history of scientific exploration through images of parasitic animals taken with a Scanning Electron Microscope and exposed onto dry plate gelatin ferrotype plates. The final images are archival pigment prints from the scanned ferrotype plates and printed larger for these abject animals to confront the viewer at a one-on-one scale.
Photography and science have had an intrinsic relationship since its' invention in 1839. It did not take William Henry Fox Talbot long until he was using his calotype process to capture what was under the lens of his microscope. The indexical nature of photography has pushed the reaches of science ever forward into the 21st century. These technologies allow us to peer in to the unexamined corners of the natural world reminding us that the universe around us is much greater than ourselves. In this realm of scientific curiosity, photography has a intriguing relationship with the invisible, allowing us to see the world that we cannot.
“Parasites” explores these themes of science and wonder and, at the same time, confronts a personal fear of these parasitic organisms that attach themselves to humans. Embedded in the work is an engaging dialog with photographic history, its' shifting modes of representation, and its' material possibilities. “Parasites" investigates the role of shifting photographic technologies in contemporary culture and their abilities to capture a mysterious and unseen world.
Insects find way into our homes no matter how vigilant we are in our effort to keep the nature on the outer side of our windowpanes. During my investigation of suburban experience, I started recording the indoor wildlife consistent with the environment my subdivision occupies.
In the Southeast, the seasons can be measured by the occurrences of different insect swarms. Unfortunately, many species of insects will become extinct before they are even discovered, due to habitat loss and other environmental problems.
Yet, these little (and sometimes not so little) invaders are natural product of our own occupation of their habitat. As we keep expanding our subdivisions to the outskirts of towns, we inhabit recently altered environments. This project investigates the results of our habitat’s expansion into rural areas. Images are meant to be portraits of our often-overlooked housemates.
The “portraits” are composites of a number of exposures with Scanning Electron Microscope and Stereoscopic Microscope. I carefully arrange the LED lighting, small reflectors, and diffusers, in order to achieve a “portrait”-like effect inspired by the tradition of 17th Century Dutch masters.
In the simplest of terms, photography is a recording of how light falls across the surface of the subject. The works in Seeing Light are visual accounts of my investigations with seeing rather than looking. I live in the country surrounded by farmland. This is a relatively new experience for me. I find myself mesmerized by the little gifts that show up on my porch or in my yard. Artifacts of life that are ever present but often overlooked. I began collecting these treasures and taking a much closer look at them. The evaluation process continued to delve deeper as I got closer and closer. The images reflect this inspection; the pause in the hustle of the daily grind to stop and see the wasp (rather than smell the roses!) Chromoskedasic is Greek for “color by light scattering”. The Chromoskedasic Sabatier printing method produces a full spectrum of colors through chemical and light reaction. The process is difficult to control or reproduce and I’ve found it to be liberating in that it encourages play and experimentation. By combining these two elements, I am able to craft a unique print that expresses the wonder and delight ofseeing the little things, making art, and adding levity to my creative practice.
My mother tells me I used to lie on my stomach and watch ants crawling through the grass for hours. I remember catching June bugs off of her wild roses in a Styrofoam cup, and finding box turtles in the gravel pit near our house. I still love hearing the cicadas come out in summer, getting tobacco juice from a grasshopper on my fingers, and catching lightning bugs in a pickle jar.
The world is full of intricate, remarkable forms, but we take our place in nature for granted, trading sensitivity to our surroundings for greater productivity and progress. The images in this series are a typological study of the plants, animals, and insects I come across in my daily life and travels, captured with my iPhone; the tool seems fitting, serving as a way to bridge my distracted life and my love of science and nature.