Bugs Are Like the Opposite of Celebrities

unidentified moth with orange and reddish brown wings

A little bit of brown becomes something beautiful up close.

Celebrities usually have a bright light on them. If things are going their way, it’s hitting them at the right angle, for the right duration of time, and in the right setting: they appear beautiful and charismatic and interesting. With insects and spiders, if they have a light shone on them, it’s typically in the most unflattering way; I direct you to think of the terrible, fear-milking internet ads about killer spiders. Usually the only actual light bugs have on them is the porch light or street lamp. Well, unless you want to count the sun. But if a photographer turns his flash on them and magnifies them so the details of their incredible bodies (which often illuminate their incredible behaviors) are visible to all, they become more than a little piece of brown debris that might be a little moth or nothing at all, which, who has the time for that? Instead, they become something beautiful and interesting.

In a way it’s also unfair to celebrities: we get closer and their pores and blemishes, which have been there all along, come out; their pettiness and failings are visible. It is a perspective bias, of which bugs and celebs are on the opposite extremes. Any given light and any given angle can alter how we perceive a subject, whether it is a bug or ourselves. I think daylight is the best light to see someone anew; then in flashes or maybe moonshadows, we might discover waiting mysteries.


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