Published: Mar 27, 2011 02:00 AM
Modified: Mar 26, 2011 11:51 PM
Many boys who like playing with insects grow out of it. At 62, Hillsborough's William Fisher remains fascinated by bugs.
He spend his working hours rearing them as a research scientist at BASF in Research Triangle Park. In the spring and summer, he spends another two to three hours a night catching and photographing them under a specially designed microscope.
"The broad range of colors, shapes, sizes and textures displayed by insects make them fascinating subjects for photography," he said.
His first exhibit of about 45 insect photos is on display at the Museum of Life and Science through this coming Thursday.
"We were interested in William's work because it's a beautiful example of the connection between art and science," said Jennifer Armstrong, who does exhibit development at the museum.
"The images show the amazing physiology of the insects in well-composed and colorful photographs," she said.
Plus, visitors can see many of these same insects live in the museum's insectarium, Armstrong said.
Fisher wants to show people that bugs are not "icky." Rather, they are "incredibly beautiful" and have "incredible lives."
Many of his subjects come from his backyard. He often chases them with a net, sometimes using a black light to attract his quarry.
"Bill is an expert professional and hobby entomologist," said Nigel Armes, Fisher's supervisor at BASF.
"His keen observation of all things small really shows in his photography," Armes said. "He's able to combine his knowledge of bug science with artistic photography skills to produce stunning images of a micro world that few people are aware of."
Fisher said he was always interested in insects but an entomology class in college changed his life. He also minored in art.
"Those two came together quite nicely," he said.
After class, he would go look for insects. "Just the hunt for them became pretty interesting," he said. He enjoyed finding insects he had never seen before.
After college he worked for several insect-rearing companies and eventually earned his master's degree and Ph.D.
When digital cameras began improving about 10 years ago, he got involved in photography. He loved that he did not have to wait to see his pictures. He also bought a microscope with a built-in camera that captured once-invisible details.
"I could see the texture and hair," he said. "It makes them so fascinating and extremely interesting from a artistic standpoint."
It can also be frustrating. Taking a picture of a live, moving insect is hard. He has to anticipate when the insect will stop moving so he can take a quality photograph and often takes many photographs just to get the one he really wants.
"You have to be very patient," he said.
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