Xavier Nuez's "Glum Bugs" - A Series of Photographs
JazJaz , February .16
Photography Series. Urban Decay. Xavier Nuez.
In his new series, Glam Bugs, photographer Xavier Nuez finds breathtakingly ethereal beauty in some of the most humble and unlikeliest of subjects — dead and decomposing insects.
To create his images, Nuez begins with a concept, and fleshes out the characters he wants to create. He then builds tiny sets that can be as small as a few square inches, to provide a perfect backdrop for his “star" bugs. The bugs themselves are those found already dead and dusty in basements, windowsills etc, which are then positioned into desired poses on the sets. He says that lighting setups are often quite complex, as they are required to create tiny shafts of light which won't wash out the intricate details in the photographs. The final images are then shot on large format film, usually on his 50-year old Hasselblad cameras.
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, or a tragic victim in a cruel world, or a powerful evil villain.
I am absorbed by the contrast between the reality and the fiction of their stories. They are the anonymous, downtrodden masses whose fate is mostly disregarded: the bottom one-percent. With my camera I dignify these largely rejected creatures, or rather, what they represent; I want to glamorize them, and give them an ambiguous but exciting allure.
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"
Nuez is already well known for his sublime photographs of urban decay and night scenes. Of Spanish origin, he was born in Montreal, and now lives in Chicago. His photographs have been featured in numerous solo and groups shows in galleries and museums in North America.
A selection of photographs from Glam Bugs will be featured from February 21 to March 28, 2012, at the Elmhurst Guild Gallery of the Elmhurst Art Museum, Illinois.