A Nottinghamshire woman is capturing photographs of preserved insects without using a camera.
Vicky-Michelle Squire, 25, from Worksop, uses a process known as ‘cameraless photography’ to create prints of real butterflies, beetles and bees.
Also called a photogram, light is used to paint pictures by layering objects onto photo paper in a dark room by exposing them to light.
Vicky said: “Bugs and insects go unnoticed all the time but if you stop and look at them, you appreciate the detail of patterns and depth of colours.
“All my work is designed to bring focus to and showcase the exquisite detailed patterns they naturally possess.
“I want to bring nature into the home and everyday life.
“There is nothing more magical than processing your own images in the dark room and I’ve found with cameraless images you get an incredible amount of detail as it is a straight shadow of the bug with no distractions from anything else.”
To create colour photograms, Vicky exposes the insects onto light sensitive Fuji Crystal Archive Paper which is then processed through a colour machine.
This contains chemicals which react with the paper to give the colour it has been exposed to.
The insects and bugs Vicky uses to create the photograms are bought online from a taxidermy and entomology site which ensures all items it sells are legal to import and have been obtained ethically.
She has launched her own company Insekt Creations which sells artworks and gifts.
Vicky became fascinated with the work of German naturalist Maria Sibylla Merian while studying photography at Nottingham Trent University.
She said: “Maria Merian was one of the first naturalists to study insects and her classification of moths and butterflies is still used today.
“She worked in a way that was both visually pleasing and educational, which got more people interested in the subject.
“The Hive has been instrumental in teaching me how to market my products and providing me with investment to increase my stock and create a range of insect patterned scarves.”
The Hive is Nottingham Trent University’s centre for enterprise and entrepreneurship which helped Vicky develop her business plan and provided investment to produce new stock for her website.