Setting up a photo shoot has its degrees of difficulties and challenges that every photographer must face. The background must fit the theme, the props need to be coordinated, the outfits and accessories must match. Working with multiple models in a shot makes things a bit harder, and then add the element of children and/or animals and your degree of difficulty just shot way up. If you find those aspects of photography arduous, then try posing ants. Live, real ants. Not digitally enhanced, photoshopped or animated.
Yes, ants. Those little creatures that crawl in an endless stream through your kitchen on a hot summer day. Russian photographer Andrei Pavlov, aka “Antry” spends his days patiently photographing the red forest ants in his backyard. 7 years ago, Antry began having spine issues and couldn’t move around much and it was then he discovered his passion for ants. He studied their behaviors and was fascinated by their interactions.
I chose ants because I respect them and their way of life. They care about their children and look after the elderly. They have lived for millions of years. I take my inspiration from humans but luckily for me ants are quite inquisitive, which seems to make them very willing participants.
Antry’s ‘Ant Tales’ are carefully and patiently created. Using his background in theater, he makes props for his “fairy tales,” or so he describes his images. When he sees a clear trail of ants along a path, he sets himself and his gear along side of the “models” and sets the scene right in the middle of their trail, including flash, backgrounds, and reflectors on wire pegs stuck into the ground. Because he’s spent so much time studying the behavior of ants, he can predict what his favorite animal will do, and can “train” them to do what he wants. He describes how he photographs this process,
“I shoot my plots in the technique of multiple exposure: a series with a fixed camera, stage and light, and then pile – in the editor, and rub with the eraser the most talented artists. With the experience of pile is getting smaller, sometimes missing one or two frames (selected from hundreds). I do not do a collage out of laziness.”
To see more of Andrey Pavlov’s work with these tiny creatures, check out his website HERE.
CREDITS: Photographs by Andrey Pavlov are copyrighted and have been used with permission for SLR Lounge. Do not copy, modify or re-post this article or images without express permission from SLR Lounge and the artist.