All of my pictures are inspired by a moment or an experience often with my family, and my Emperor Dragonfly picture was no exception.
We moved into our little house by the canal in the spring and were loving walks along the canal bank with our dog. It must have been the right time of year, because there were Dragonfly’s and Damsel fly’s everywhere, small skinny ones and giant ones like the one in my picture. Reds and greens and blues, zipping about, flashing across the water, eliciting oohs and ahhs and squeals from the children as they came a bit to close to investigate us.
On one of our walks my partner found the perfectly preserved skeleton of an Emperor Dragonfly. It was sad to find one of those amazing creatures dead, but being able to see up close how stunning it was felt like a privilege, the intricacy of it’s wings, the size and strength of its body, nature in all it’s glory, I really wanted to create a picture to celebrate that.
I sketched up and researched the Emperor Dragonfly and in the process I discovered some amazing things about their life cycle, a transformation to challenge any butterfly. Laid as eggs, after a few weeks they hatch into Lava (nymphs) and live for between one and two years under the water, growing and shedding their skin up to 15 times. Eventually they emerge from the water cling to a reed and shed their final skin slowly over the course of an hour or two. As their legs and wings harden they can fly only weakly to begin with. After all of that on average they only live above water in all of their glory for a week or two, exceptionally 6 weeks, before they die.
My Dragonfly picture took 18 months to finish and nearly ended up in the bin at least 3 times, but I got there in the end. I hope it goes some way to represent the beauty and majesty of the real thing!