Item description for Night Visions: The Secret Designs of Moths by Joseph Scheer...
An astonishing collection of images so vibrant they seem poised to fly off the page.
In a place where art, science and technology meet, Joseph Scheer's images of moths emerge. These ubiquitous creatures are often considered drab-colored poor relations of the "beautiful" butterfly; Scheer's artwork will forever change that notion. By using a high-resolution scanner, recently developed digital printing technology, and an artist's sensibility, he brings forth the subtleties and astonishing varieties of color and textures that moths possess. The result is a glittering jewel box of brilliantly colored, intricately formed creatures, each with its own landscape of tiny hairs, kaleidoscopic color, iridescent eyes and antennae as intricate as filigree.
Scheer's moth experiments started out as a fine art print installation to show a range of insects at large scale in a single room, and have now expanded into a biodiversity project with a significant number of specimens. This exquisitely produced volume features one hundred and fifty prints selected from Scheer's extensive collection, images of such incredible depth and color you'll want to reach out and touch them. Certainly you'll never look at a moth the same way again.
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Joseph Scheer has been designing, producing, and marketing his bamboo creations for almost twenty years. With a thorough background in science, he has been a teacher, researcher, technician, and inventor, as well as builder, contractor, sailor, and artist. He has built, furnished, and now markets a bamboo-appointed vacation home in Rincon, Puerto Rico. He lives in Oregon.
Joseph Scheer currently resides in Alfred, in the state of New York.
Reviews - What do customers think about Night Visions: The Secret Designs of Moths?
Reality Check Jul 11, 2007
This book is simply amazing--and I love that the emphasis is simply on the beauty of the moth. I would recommend it as a gift for anyone who will appreciate being reminded of the miraculous beauty of that which we bypass(or worse...swat at) every day. A fantastically wonderful reality check.
capturing and killing beauty Dec 12, 2005
A nice pair of close-up binoculars, a flashlight and boots could be a lot more exciting and respectful of these animals than drying them up just to copy their evolutionary path and call it art. The three stars are for the benefit of those who would have never known such creatures exist, that much this book has done. Why not get a microscope and take photos of bacteria, or take photos of metal detector screens. I prefer my animals alive in their habitat, and my art to really say something. Check out naturephotographers dot net. Now there is photography of nature.
The beauty I overlooked Nov 7, 2005
Joseph Sheer has used his expertise in the electronic arts-scanning and digital imaging-to produce an amazing collection of colorful, vivid images of moths. Very simply, "Night Visions" contains stupendous color plates and would appeal to anyone, especially those interested in macro imaging or the study of Lepidoptera (butterflies, skippers and moths).
The book begins with three introductory chapters (like forewords), the first by Mr. Sheer explaining his interest in moths and his techniques for trapping them and scanning them for print images. Lepidopterist Marc Epstein follows with a four-page mini-course in moth types, habits and markings, after which Johanna Drucker briefly describes the evolution of image making that brought us to the scanning technology which produced this book. I enjoyed the first two sections the best since I became interested in moths upon seeing this book.
There are over 70 color plates, mostly displaying the moths enlarged so that each wingspan extends to just about one full page in width (depending on the moth, that's a magnification ranging from 2.5x to over 20x). In addition, where aspects of a moth's coloration or texture is particularly fascinating, a secondary blow-up, many times the initial enlargement, is displayed alongside in order to give perspective to the detail. In every case, the result is a photograph that is amazing in terms of clarity, color and detail. I've never seen anything like this.
A nice bonus can be found in the last twelve pages, which have another 150-plus 1" x 2" photos of moths, arranged by family (Sphinx moths, Tiger moths, Owlet, etc.) so that an easier comparison of characteristics can be made to introduce the reader to the different family types. I thought this added a nice educational complement to the big images. The construction of the book is first-rate, with durable, thick and glossy print stock. "Night Visions" is bound to fascinate just about anyone.
Astonishing state of the art color scanning Apr 2, 2005
The front and back covers of this book are not mirror images of each other. They are continuous parts of a scan that is 12 inches tall and about 36 inches long, including the flaps in the front and back covers. The body of the moth is not clear along the spine of the book, but the light hairs extending an inch or more from dark shoulder pads are similar to the pattern of Grammia virgo on Plate 18. This print of the entire moth measures six and a half inches between spots that are shown on the inner flaps, so the cover must be zooming in with a power of five on the size of a full page moth in this book. The virgin tiger moth shown in the tiny version of that scan on page 110 has a wingspan of 6.2 cm. It is amazing how intense the colors become as the picture is electronically exploded to twenty-five times actual size, and fine red hairs can be seen crossing yellow wing membrane.
On Plate 18, the antennae curve like an antelope's antler, with tiny offshoots like eyelashes. The wings look as fuzzy as moths are expected to be, with fine hairs projecting into the space between the wings and the body. The long cover scan is so well focused on the hairs at the glass of the scanner that the gap between body and wing is hardly noticeable, except on the back cover, where distinct hairs over a white background approach the rounded red shape of the moth's body. The intricate parts of the wings look flaky, but the scanning technique emphasizes the shapes and colors of discrete objects on the surface of the glass much more than how three-dimensional anything is. Legs might be blurry, as in plate 43, Magusa orbifera, or extremely hairy when they are featured, as on plate 44, Zanclognatha laevigata, looking like a combination of feathers and spiky thorns.
Weird is the 11 and 1/2 by 18 inch scan of Geina tenuidactyla on plate 59, which looks like it has five or six feathers on each side, striped curvy antennae, and legs with long spines at the joints. Wingspan is actually 1.1 cm, so the scan is magnified about 40 times, and the strange features of the Pterophoridae family are explained on page 116. "They are mostly small moths with long slender legs. At rest the wings are rolled in a T-shape at right angles to its body. The forewing is deeply notched and the hindwing is divided into three fringed lobes resembling plumes." It really helps to have the small pictures at the back of the book, which more closely resemble what you are expecting to see whenever you view a moth in real life.
WOW! Mar 22, 2004
This is one of the most remarkable books that I have encountered in a long long time. An artist friend who is aware of my tripartite interest in science, technology, and the arts grabbed me in the cafeteria last months & said that I "had to take a look at this". She was absolutely right. No, this ISN'T a scientific treatise on moths or a discourse on the natural history of insects, and one certainly wouldn't want to take it into the field to identify even the moths of the relatively small area sampled, BUT THAT ISN'T THE POINT! Instead one is treated to stunning imagery of animals that most of us either ignore entirely or slaughter with "bug-zappers" and poisons & seldom if ever grant the benefit of a second glance. Thanks to Scheer my children & I have had some very pleasant sessions simply sitting & turning the pages & the most frequent comment is the title of this review. "Wow!" indeed. Also Bravo to Scheer for giving us a wonderful look at a little seen & greatly under-appreciated subject.