Small bugs, big deal. A closer look at why we need creepy crawlies


Most people prefer insects to be nothing more than splatters of goo squashed underfoot. It’s hard to imagine why anyone would take an active interest in them. But for Warren Dick, it’s quite simple. “I love bugs,” he says. Growing up, Dick was fascinated by the smaller creatures in the garden, from bees, caterpillars and spiders, to moths, crickets and beetles. He paid close attention to their extraordinary details and markings, and over time, began photographing them. Using a macro lens, Dick focuses on insects to dispel fear of them, and create curiosity instead.

He captures detailed close-ups of bugs that show off their vivid hues, delicate wings, and whispers of fur. “I’m happy that I’ve found macro photography,” Dick says. “Now people can appreciate those things that they’ve never seen before.” But this isn’t just a creative endeavour for Dick; it also speaks to his experiences. “I could relate to being misunderstood,” he says. “At school, I was always the odd one out.” As an adult, Dick has found his place behind the camera, where he captures a whole world that would otherwise remain out of sight.

The work of photographers like Dick has the potential to protect the future of all living things. More than just the minutiae of the outdoors, bugs are an indicator of the ecological health of an area. “Everything is created for a purpose,” Dick says. “Removing just one insect from an environment can start a whole nasty chain reaction.” He hopes to prevent that. Dick’s images encourage people to appreciate a different kind of beauty, one that quietly crawls along or flutters by. “I love South Africa for its multitude of ecosystems that allow some of the most stunning bugs in the world to exist,” Dick says. By stopping to expose the little things, he’s making a sizeable difference to our world.