Mantis Matilda

It feels to me that there's this odd, specific elegance to the cold, calculated, silent stare of a praying mantis. 

What is it thinking? To what level is it assessing the situation, reasoning?

daniel biegler matilda portrait roses head crop

An opaque gaze that feels approaching yet distanced, looming, scheming and yet - indifferent. It seems as though you are of no concern to the mantis. It's not judging, it's only observing and deciding to let the thoughts pass.

The head shape and big eyes can sometimes fool you into thinking that the mantis is 'smiling' but that is just us humans interpreting signals that aren't applicable to these wonderful creatures. The 'facial' expression stays the same, no matter the situation. 

daniel biegler matilda portrait upside down

I've always loved insect shots but never had the means to take the picture that I had in my mind. After a long time of studying, deliberating and saving money I finally bit the bullet and bought a used DSLR. I can't afford a true macro lens as of yet, but I got the Tamron 70-300mm for a cheap 99€ (~$110 USD).

My end goal is to be able to shoot like Andres Moline, his work is incredible. Comparing yourself with such a highly skilled artist can be a trap because it's pretty discouraging seeing the masterpieces they produce while yours lack substance.

Knowing that, I'm trying to enjoy the road, not the destination.

And this is exactly why this picture of Matilda feels so special to me.

Taking the leap and trying to put yourself out there, knowing you might fail and regret doing so is a hurdle that I wanted to overcome. The following image of Matilda is my very first genuine attempt at that.

daniel biegler matilda portrait small

I tried to capture the curious yet neutral expression of Matilda.
This post is my tribute to her. (* I also made this)

About Matilda

This beautiful creature lived beside me on my ficus for over a year, I raised her since she was this tiny:

daniel biegler matilda first photo

It's the very first picture I took of her on my habanero chili plant.

Don't be fooled by her fragile looks though, she is brave and doesn't back down!

daniel biegler matilda first meal locust

Before I got the picture that I wanted, I practiced other shots of her which led to her gathering some fans on reddit, more specifically the awwnverts community.

daniel biegler matilda reddit posts

Thank you to everyone that commented and spread the love! It was genuinely appreciated, because bringing people joy is the goal I set for my art.

I hope in the future I'm able to look back on this canvas and tell myself that my journey started here.

daniel biegler holding matilda on canvas

Matilda got very old, approximately ~16 months, and died peacefully of old age.

I buried her in the soil of the first plant that she lived on.
Farewell, little one. ❤

Mantis Matilda 
† 17.05.19

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