For many people, moths are swarming, dust-colored pets that eat our clothes and disturb is by flying around lights after dark. Not for artist Joseph Scheer. The images hecreates bring out the beauty of moths, with colors, shapes, and patterns that have never before been seen sop clearly. “Digital tools let you see things you’d never see juts looking with your eyes,” Scheersays. Scheer’s images have been displayed around the world, and one reaction is heard everywhere: “People insist, ‘No, that can’t be a moth”, says Scheer. One Swiss viewer credited the insect’slovely variety to their exotic American origin: “We don’t have such nice moths in our country,” he declared. In fact, every country has moths that can amaze.
The process began with amoth hunt in the state of New York. Scheer would leave the lights on and the windows open overnight at his university office, then collect the moths that had flown in when he returned in the morning.When the building cleaners at the university complained, he moved the hunt to his friend Mark Klingensnith’s yard. Mark’s a gardener with lots of stuff growing on his property,” Scheer says. “Moths likeit”. They set up two lights shining over a plastic container on a white sheet. Then they watched, astounded, as moths emerged from the darkness, flew carelessly into the sheet, and fell into theplastic container.
“We got a different species every night that fist season”, Scheer says. “The patterns and colors were overwhelming”.
Scanning the Details
Using a powerful scanner designed forcamera film, they were able to capture detailed pictures of moths. Smalls moths present special challenges. “One twitch of the finger and there goes a wing,” says Scheer. “I try to drink less coffeewhen I’m working on [them].”
The scanner records so much information that a single moth can take 20 minutes to scan. A scan of just two small moths fills an entire CD. All that information means...