Daniel Kariko, Assistant Professor of Photography at East Carolina University, uses technology to record the world around us. He zooms in on insect life, creatures in our homes, around our heads, on our clothes and by our feet. In 1909, the microscope allowed us to see God’s design in the minute. In the 21st Century, new instruments enable us to peer even closer, exploring our own world as never before.
The artist explains:
“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. Insects represent almost 85% of all known animal species. Taxonomists name and describe about 2000 species of insects annually. 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.”
Seen up close, we can alter our view of these ‘pests’. The moth looks alert and loveable; the weevil might get its own cartoon, with the golden paper wasp as its cute and dumb sidekick; and cuckoo wasps come from other planets.