Arlington, Virginia: Cicadas competing at the Olympics or scrambling in a group? How about a line of cicadas lining up for CVS vaccinations?
The appearance of the insects known as Brood X or Brood 10 in the eastern United States after a 17-year hiatus inspired professional portrait photographer Virginia Oxana Ware to create small-scale art installations, placing ubiquitous insects in new and unexpected environments. .
“I always teach my kids to just be playful and nature friendly, that’s how the idea was born,” said the 39-year-old, who has three young children. “We started with my son’s fire truck and it was a huge success.”
Ware picks up the cicadas in her yard and places them in dollhouse-sized sets that she has created to showcase them. As you might expect, the bugs are far from cooperative and it usually takes a while before they can photograph an insect in a simulated barbell press.
What started out as a light-hearted way to commemorate cicadas has helped children stop being afraid of cicadas, Ware says.
“I have a lot of thanks,” she said. “A lot of the kids who were very tired of these things aren’t afraid of them anymore, and the cicada ‘clothing line’ putting on a dress is the reason. The kids really enjoyed it.”
Ware excels at telling stories about the cicadas in his pictures.
“I missed live music so much that I decided to do a cicada rock band,” she said, featuring miniature musical instruments. “This guy is trying to play guitar … Bass was a tough job to fill.”
Having emigrated to the United States from Tula, Russia 20 years ago, Ware even brings his home country into his cicada portrait art with a photo of a creeper on the facade of a St. Basil.
“I always see the best in people. I see the best in cicadas,” she said. “I try to show people the best in any situation and I like that people are less stressed in life and have more fun.”