July 21, 2020
SPECIMENS - Butterflies
I love dramatic flashes of creative energy. But I don't depend on them.
I once read a book about Andy Warhol that praised his ability to overcome our normal aversion to boredom. Which makes sense, especially given the repetitive nature of the work he did.
But this is also true for any creative endeavor. Transforming an idea into a piece of work is usually a moment of inspiration followed by endless hours of drudgery.
This photo, however, more or less just dropped into my lap.
A biology professor was kind enough to give me full access to the department's specimens room. Over several months I photographed all manor of stuffed, pinned, or otherwise preserved creatures, often in a way that accentuated their inherent creepiness.
But for this one, I pulled down an unlabeled cookie tin, pried off the lid, and it was full of butterflies. Dead ones, of course, but still gorgeous. This was one of those wonderful moments where I took one look an immediately knew the photo I wanted.
It's important to know when you need to add something to make a photo work.
But it's equally important to recognize when you don't.