For most people, insects are pests. We flick them off our arms. We spray them with pesticides. Levon Biss is a photographer. He wants us to see their beauty.
Biss takes close-up photographs of insects. Then he blows them up into larger-than-life images. Looking at one is like looking through a microscope. We see the insects in all their wonderful detail. Biss hopes this will lead viewers to appreciate these creatures. They are “marvels ,” he says. “Hopefully, people will give them a little bit more respect.”
The insects Biss has photographed are from the collection at the American Museum of Natural History. That is in New York. All of them are endangered or extinct .
Biss used cameras with microscope lenses. This allowed him to photograph a bug’s tiniest features. The process could take weeks. Biss sometimes took 10,000 pictures of an insect. Each picture would focus on a small section of the bug. Then he used a computer to put these pictures together into one giant image.
Biss hopes his photographs will get people talking. He wants us to think about the importance of protecting insects. “The beauty of these images is the hook,” he says. Beauty makes us look closely at the insects. That, Biss notes, makes us care. “Hopefully, we can shake things up and get people to pay attention,” he says.
Insects are important to our environment. They pollinate plants. They are food for other animals. But many species are disappearing because of human activity. Below are three photographed by Levon Biss. From top to bottom, we see a silk moth, a ladybug, and a blue calamintha bee.