I don’t even need Christmas gift shopping as an excuse to waste hours of my time browsing the shelves in Waterstones; I stumbled upon a half-price book that teaches you how to knit once and it happened to fall into my hands and lead me to the till. I still haven’t made a jumper, or even a scarf… Mooching around this week, I caught the words The Life of Fly and my curiosity sparked. I picked up a small, rectangular book and began to flick through the 64 pages, intrigued at the grim idea someone had to make little scenes out of dead insects and a pencil.
“For a long time entomologists have been studying the life of the common housefly, but with limited success. Recently, however, a Swedish photographer, Magnus Muhr, has managed to reveal that flies live pretty much like we do. In this extraordinary record of fly behaviour, witness them as never before as they sunbathe, go horse riding, queue for the toilets, hang out the washing and even perform their own version of Riverdance.” – Watersones website
This idea might make some of you feel slightly ill, and I admit it isn’t the most pleasant activity I can think of someone partaking in. It is, however, an original thought. I don’t know of any other photographers out there who have the imagination and patience to arrange flies into order and take photographs of them. I wonder how many gusts of wind blew the insects out of place before the scene was ready to be shot, and how long it took the man to complete his collection. Did he capture living flies in jar and wait for them to kick the bucket? Did he put up fly-paper, watch them get stuck and carefully remove them once they had stopped buzzing? Or did he inspect dark, dusty corners and cobwebs to find their corpses?
I encourage you to check out Muhr’s website – dead flies aren’t the only subjects he photographs. There are some beautiful nude, potrait and nature shots to have a look at as well. And maybe you could pop off to Waterstones and buy The Life of Fly if it doesn’t make you feel ill.
Razz Arts Co-ordinator