This page will chart the research and development of the photographic project exploring threatened Australian moth and butterfly specimens held in the collection at Museum Victoria. I will photograph the native insects from the Museum Victoria collection with materials (soil, minerals, plants) collected from the sites where they formerly thrived, yet are now no longer found, linking and ‘returning’ them to their habitat. I will also photograph the places where the insects (from Museum Victoria’s collection) were captured alive and are now extinct. I will return to the capture sites to mourn the loss of species, explore an attachment to place and give a voice to the spectres of the lost and the unseen.
I will be working with Museum Victoria under the mentorship of Peter Lillywhite, the Senior Collections Manager in Entomology and Arachnology at Museum Victoria. Focusing on six butterfly and four moth species classified as regionally extinct, critically endangered, endangered or vulnerable and listed as threatened (in the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988). Specimens of each species are held in the Museum Victoria collection.
The project will bring together photographs taken at the sites, images of the butterflies at the museum, and still-life/landscapes created with soil collected from the sites. The photographs will strive to evoke an essence or residue of place whilst referencing still life traditions. I’m interested in depictions of the Australian landscape from non-western perspectives. The watercolours of Harriet and Helena Scott combining landscapes with studies of insects have informed the project from its inception.