Who is Sam Droege giving his book to this Christmas?
The photographer and researcher tells us his personal highs and lows of 2018 and who’ll be getting a great gift
Though we look at hundreds of images every day, just a few truly stop us in our tracks in the way that Sam Droege’s photograph of a sweat bee did, when we came across it in our new book Animal: Exploring the Zoological World.
The image was made not from a single shot of this Halictus ligatus or sweat bee– whose common name is derived from its attraction to human perspiration – but from a series of smaller shots of the beast, which were digitally merged to create this incredibly clear composite.
The pure art of this process isn’t Droege’s only interest; he works as a wildlife biologist for the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, which strives to support wildlife in the United States. So his bee photography isn’t just beautiful, it’s also a highly useful ongoing record of the country’s vitally important insect population.
Read on to discover what’s truly put a bee in his bonnet this year, and who will be receiving his copy of Animal: Exploring the Zoological World, as a great Christmas gift.
What was the thing that inspired you most this year? It’s an ongoing inspiration. When I am outside I feel the interlocking songs of all creation; the mathematical, chemical, and raw processes that balance each other, creating what is an intimate personal relationship, that tunes and supports me each day.
It is a small brightness; knowing that whatever we inflict on the Earth it will patiently reclaim the planet after we are gone.
What was your personal highlight? I have moved my lab into a 30-acre neglected research compound, full of misguided plantings and plants that move in when conditions foster invaders rather than local inhabitants, and have begun the process of rebalancing the landscape.
What annoyed you most? The current political atmosphere.
What can we expect from you in 2019? More intimate public domain photographs of nature that highlight the beauty and the importance of the small plant and insect people.
Who will you give your Phaidon book to for Xmas? My lover. She appreciates form, art, and nature.