Insect Tall Tales

6a00e553a80e108834017c3826dd8e970b-800wiAs long as there have been photographs, there has been “trick” photography. In the early 1900s, E. D. Conrad superimposed images of people and insects in ways that made the insects look gigantic. Travelers sent thousands of these cards to friends and relatives back home. What made the cards so popular?

1. Price. It’s the thought that counts, and a postcard is an inexpensive way say, “I have not forgotten you”.
2. Entertainment value. The pictures are absurd and amusing. They associate the message and messenger with a pleasant thought.
3. Pique Interest. Small photos many times fail to convey the grandeur of landscapes. The perspective is inadequate. A picture of an apparent giant insect is compelling even if it is just to try to detect evidence of the trick.
4. No one wants to see vacation pictures. They are boring. You had to be there to appreciate it. Most people would rather look at a giant grasshopper than a friend’s vacation pictures.

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is a retired Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
This entry was posted in Art, by jjneal, Insect Inspired. Bookmark the permalink.

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