While photographer Christopher D Foster has made images of weddings, events, portraits and commercial stills for decades, in the past few years he has concentrated on a subject more close at hand.
“Getting down to the macro level really makes the world seem larger,” Foster said in explaining his work. “It’s the universe of the overlooked and seldom seen, and it’s a massive universe.”
Macro photography refers to photographing subjects at high magnifications. Foster, who is also a Cape Gazette photographer and photo editor, captures his images using a regular camera outfitted with macro lenses, tubes and diopters, and shoots mirrorless in full frame using manual mode and manual focus lenses.
Insects are his favorite subjects.
“I don’t take pictures of bugs,” Foster said. “I do their portraits.”
Indeed, Foster’s colorful spiders, flying insects, bees and cicadas – which he admits slightly freak him out – come to life on the page. What he describes as “tiny, beautiful marvels of engineering” seem to have distinct personalities. Some appear otherworldly in such close detail.
“Although we think of them as scaly and hard, so many bugs have just as much hair as we do,” he said.
Even with macro lenses, Foster gets as close to the insects as possible, so he must be cautious.
When he first photographed a Black Widow millimeters from her poisonous bite, the shutter closed and left him sightless for seconds. When he opened his eyes, the arachnid had disappeared. He panicked until he found she had just crawled back into her hiding place.
Delaware offers a lot of places to shoot, Foster said. Many images are made in his backyard, the Cape Gazette backyard garden and Brecknock County Park in Camden.
“It’s as close as I can get to a safari,” he said. “Bees, wasps, dragonflies, it’s full of great subjects.”
Foster also photographs plants and flowers, dew and raindrops.
“You might think you know what a rose or daisy looks like, but when you look at them through a macro lens, you realize how much beauty in the detail you miss looking at them any other way,” he said.
Foster said he wanted to create a book of images for a long time. Last summer, his friend and co-worker Teresa Rodriguez asked him what he thought was a weird question.
“She asked me if I could send her some of my higher-quality images,” he said. “So I did and forgot about it.”
In December, Rodriguez handed Foster a glossy, photo-filled book titled “Hidden.”
“I looked at the cover photo and thought, wow, I got a shot of that guy, too, but mine’s not as good,” he said.
Foster leafed through the book of photos that became increasingly more familiar with each turned page.
“For a couple minutes I was confused, then I realized what it was,” he said. Rodriguez had compiled some of his most compelling photos and published them in book format.
With his book in hand, Foster decided to try a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to publish a 100-page book on premium luster paper featuring his best work.
Kickstarter helps people bring creative work to life. Creators launch projects on the online platform to raise funds for their work. Donors back the project financially to support its creation and receive rewards based on funding levels. If project funding goals aren’t met, donors are not charged for their pledges.
“And all donors will have as a reward the knowledge they helped,” Foster said. “The goal is to raise funds to print 100 books. Anything more than that would be awesome. If we surpass the goal, we can print more books. This is not a money-making venture; it’s a learning and sharing experience.”
If the campaign is successful, Foster said he may approach Amazon, Barnes & Noble or other publishers to gauge interest in further publication.
To donate to the Kickstarter, go to Hidden: The Macro Photography of Christopher D Foster.