"I think the oldest butterfly I shot was from the late 1800s," DecemberGrey said as she began explaining her images, now on display in an exhibition entitled Waterscapes & Flying Things at Ode's Arts & Culture Community (OACC). When I first arrived to see her work, the images struck me as beautiful, but so detailed that I imagined them lifted off the pages of a nineteenth-century encyclopedia. Instead, as I quickly learned, she painstakingly creates the "flying things" images (cicadas, butterflies, moths, beetles and the like, all identified by their scientific names) by working with real insects and a macro lens, stitching together multiple images.
"The main problem is that most of the insects are from really old collections in either museums or universities, and are invariably missing body parts, or look as if they're disintegrating in areas...So it's a matter of replicating what I can, removing the pins that are embedded in them, 'dusting' them to be clean, and so on," she explains. "I used a microscope to pre-clean a lot of the beetles, and would become lost in the marvel of structural engineering that they all displayed...It's so easy to see where much of the fabric design in the world comes from, not to mention the slew of aliens in sci-fi movies, some of which have been created directly from invertebrates."
As for the waterscapes, you'll need to climb the stairs of the cozy little gallery-house all the way to the attic, where beautiful scenes await: images of Roche, Frisland, Imagin@rium, Kalepa, Grey Havens, Black Kite, H22O, Dysphoria, Hazardous, Tortola, Immersiva, Black Basalt Beach and The Colder Water. They are, indeed, some of the best composed Second Life land/waterscapes I have ever seen, so they alone are worth the visit. (And, if you've never been to Waderstill, where OACC is located, you're in for more of a treat.)