Frank Gumpert

Repulsion to Reverence

Senior Project December 2013


Repulsion to Reverence is a body of work that ultimately conveys the overlook of some of the world’s smallest life, also known as insects. The title for this exhibition explains how we generally interact with insects on a daily basis. We avoid insects, sometimes taking it to the extreme without even knowing what the insect is. Repulsion to Reverence will bring awareness to our human to insect interaction through allowing the viewer to observe insects in a larger than life image. By removing the physical insect and replacing it with an approachable photograph the viewer will be able to observe and admire the insect for what it really is. Making the images as large as I can possibly create I hope to make the viewer aware of the intricacy and beauty of the micro world around us.

Being a macro photographer has had profound impacts on me as an individual. I have come to understand the intimate beauty that life can have on such a tiny level. Once you watch a bark scorpion fight off a brown anole, or watch a dragon fly hunt, suddenly homosapien life seems less complicated. In our daily life we tend to tune out and focus on the bigger picture. With the constant distraction and hum of the world we often avoid, ignore, and step on, some of the most complex and bizarre creatures our planet has to offer. The ultimate intention of this body of work is to hopefully restore some conscious respect for our smallest neighbors. I want the viewers to feel a connection to the insects themselves. I want viewers to be aware of their surroundings and come to terms that humans are not the only ones in it. Most importantly I want viewers to come away with a better sense of the beauty of nature right down to the smallest of life.

The process for taking photographs of such small creatures is very complicated and takes patience. Not all insects are willing to pose long enough for a shot and even when they do it takes a steady hand and technical know how to capture a useable image. I first assemble what I call my “rig”. It is essentially a camera, a lens, an off camera flash, a soft box, and a macro arm rig. The entire assembly weights around 14 pounds depending on the setup. The lens I primarily use is the Canon Mp-e. The Mp-e is a unique lens designed exclusively for macro shooting. It is a fixed focus lens, which means the lens is focused by moving the entire rig forwards and backwards. At a focusing distance of two inches you can imagine most bugs do not like to let you get that close, but a patient hand and an understanding of insect behavior has led me to capture the images I have on display today. The images are printed of Kodak metallic paper and the frames are die cut polished aluminum.

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