“Nuez’s keen eye and succulent colours infuse his insects with a fragile shimmering beauty that deflects much of the horror”
The Glam Bugs
When I look at bugs magnified through my photographic lens, they become larger than life icons – sometimes appearing as a heroic figure in an epic drama, or a superstar adored by millions; a tragic victim in a cruel world, or a powerful evil villain.
I love glorifying the least among us. As someone with periodic bouts of social anxiety, I find myself fantasizing that I am the opposite. And so my little bugs embrace this duality, where at once they are lowly, irrelevant creatures, and at the same time, compelling figures in the alternate universe I’ve created for them.
And I enjoy seeing them adopting simple poses, or actions, as though they are playing to the camera. I want to glamorize them, and give them an ambiguous but exciting allure.
I prefer using the most mundane and readily available bugs; those found dead and dusty in basements, on windowsills, and sidewalks. Some of my bugs end up in a gritty burial ground, while others are given a rather more glamorous send-off, with all the pomp and glitter of Hollywood.
I try to see their faces and look into their eyes. Perhaps their expressions contain echoes of untold epic tales. Or, perhaps, in the end, each of them is simply a dead bug, as the cycle of life completes another turn.
To create the images in this theatrical series, I begin with a concept, making sketches and fleshing out the character I want to create. I start building sets that can range in size from a few square inches to a few square feet. Then I search for the perfect bug to play my assigned role. Once the “star” is discovered, I position it in a pose using paper tweezers. The lighting set-ups can be complex – I use cards and flags to create tiny shafts of light. When the bug is ready for their close-up, the final image is shot.
© Xavier Nuez