Summer Cicadas / by Michael Ryan

Cicadas. Every year about this time when the temperature reached the high 40s (110- 120 F) Cicadas start falling out of the threes outside my apartment. If you don’t live in a hot climate and have never seen or heard one, they are a huge fly about 6 cms long (3 inches) and make an incredibly loud noise. They only come out in the summer and apparently don’t live very long. The female (the white eyed cicada) dropped out of a tree on my head so I decided to take her home and photograph her. She was still alive, barely, but there was nothing I could do other than let her die. My daughter asked if I could kill her quickly but with what? A tiny gun? Her legs were straight up and occasionally she would wiggle them. However she was dead within the hour and I noticed her three sets of legs had become folded over. It’s probably just the way they contract but it seemed rather congruous and a little sad. I love old scientific photography so I used similar visual language but really I wanted to take a portrait of her so I didn’t use a white background. I found a second dead cicada a day later so Im going take some more portraits of them. Not sure where I’m going with this one but we’ll see.