The Beekeeper

© Marisa S White - White Sparks Photography - The Beekeeper

The Beekeeper

I have this weird obsession with collecting dead insects; everything from butterflies to locust shells, bumble bees to dragonflies. You name it. You just never know when one may come in handy for a concept and when a stock image of mine just doesn’t quite do the trick.

So when I am out and about walking my four-legged child, I often look down at my feet hoping to find a new addition to my collection. Surprisingly, the dog park offers a overabundance of insect varieties, recently deceased and untainted by the spoils of time.

Yes, I am that strange girl walking down the sidewalk, hand cupped and extended outward, trying to avoid sudden gusts of wind as I shelter a tiny little creature with a perfect, yet delicate wing span. They often make their way onto my desk, horrifying co-workers or at home where Captain Awesome shakes his head in disbelief…once again. What strange new thing has now breached the threshold of this house? Oh, if he only knew!

© Marisa S White - White Sparks Photography - Behind the Scenes of a Conceptual Photograh
But my real friends, accepting of these peculiar idiosyncrasies of mine, not only understand the obsession of the collector, but offer to help! Thank you, Brittany, for requesting your neighbor ship you a dead tarantula (which I hope to put to good use soon), and Kerry, for lacing a hive of paper wasps that had grown to massive proportions in the tree outside. While I don’t always have an immediate use for them; like my painting instructor once told me, it’s good to have all your paints available at any given time to not disrupt the flow when inspiration strikes!

Note: All insects died of natural causes…unlike those I was forced to collect in high school for a science project. ~

Behind the Scenes of a Conceptual Photograph

The morning of Jan 2nd, I sat on the couch next to Captain Awesome, fueling up before my shoot with Jenn and Jackie, scowling at the sun. Frustration had already set in to add to my nervousness that inevitably arrives to greet every session, regardless of the weather. I whipped out Lindsay Adler’s – Shooting in Sh*tty Light, a gift from mom for Christmas last year. Hoping to glean some great words of wisdom before I set out for the day, I reviewed all the relevant sections, praying it would stick in the moment. Unfortunately, without a massive sun bounce in my bag of tricks and only a small 5-in-1 reflector, words kept reverberating in my head….shoot in the shade.

Shoot in the shade.

But all my concepts had my models in full on sun contact without any trees to seek refuge! Except this one.

Jackie not only offered her services as a makeup artist for the day, but agreed to play model in my sandbox as well! I gave simple instructions on makeup for both her and Jenn and she intuitively delivered on all counts. She does beautiful work – check out her website Here.


© Marisa S White - White Sparks Photography - Behind the Scenes of a Conceptual Photograh

© Marisa S White - White Sparks Photography - Detail of The Beekeeper
I initially brought along my own sheet of torn paper with me, thinking I could utilize that prop to create the hole for the bee, but the shade didn’t allow for enough lighting to create depth within the frayed edges. Go figure! So back at the house, I improvised using torn paper and then deciding which bee needed to star in this image.

Of all the images, this by far has been the easiest to edit.

Lesson learned: When shooting in sh*tty light, get in the shade!

(Thank you, Lindsay. Next time I’ll listen more.)


Jan 20, 2016 - 1:15 am

Kim Johnson - Natural causes? I think a few bald-faced wasps may have ‘naturally’ inhaled some spray from a can of Black Flag or RAID….

Feb 3, 2016 - 8:43 pm

Marisa White - Yes, true. But this bee was found in a perfect state of ‘deadness’ devoid of any chemical retaliation…at least that I know of!

Apr 5, 2016 - 2:48 pm

Abigail - Hi Aunt Marisa!! I miss you and i was in art class and so i was showing my friends some of your work! They love it by the way, but i just wanted to see what new stuff you had and can i say that it is phenomenal!!! I love you!

Apr 5, 2016 - 3:06 pm

Marisa White - You are too sweet! Thank you. Can’t wait to see what we create together when you come visit me this summer. :)

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *