Bart Simpson was once quoted as saying “Because, nobody ever suspects the butterfly”. Similar words may be used to describe inventor and creator of SOTE Jim Frazier’s vibrant Lepidoptera (that’s geek-speak for butterflies and moths) photographic exhibition that just wrapped up at the Manning Regional Art Gallery. The award-winning and internationally acclaimed wildlife photographer and film maker’s stunning images not only displayed the beauty of the Lepidoptera world, but also the risque and seamy side of the lives of these insects.
Throughout January, the gallery’s walls were bursting with retina-searing macro images of butterflies and moths which inspired both young and old visitors. Among the visitors were Greater Taree mayor Paul Hogan and the council’s general manager Gerard Jose.
Many of the photographs were taken over 30 years ago well before digital photography became standard, and only one image had been tweaked in Photoshop. Frazier has developed various innovative techniques over many years filming wildlife documentaries for Sir David Attenborough. This is the first time these images have been displayed to the public.
To achieve the unique effects, such as blurring behind the wings, Frazier scratched the edge of the lens and re-polished it, creating a refraction which causes the blur. Other effects were created using old telescopes and “strange optical devices”.
The butterflies and moths were sourced from habitats in Bootawa and Kuranda. To create the perfect conditions for photographing the insects, Frazier created the ideal environment and lighting before placing them in front of the camera. They were also cooled in the fridge for a short period of time to slow their movements down, making it easier for him to place them.
The Oscar-winning cinematographer’s exhibition received rave reviews from both visitors and local media.