Jayne Hinds Bidaut


As I finalize travel plans for a return trip to South Africa, I’ve been thinking about one of the rules of the road while on safari and that is “don’t kill anything unless your life depends on it…including the creepy-crawlies”. The dictate is a way to preserve nature’s eco-systems, but admittedly, I found this request challenging.

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We tend to believe that insects and small reptiles are an unnecessary nuisance, but not photographer, Jayne Hinds Bidaut. Jayne believes that insects and small creatures are a metaphor for our psychological growth. Yes, it’s that deep.

So, I wonder what it says about me that when I found a tiny lizard in my hut my first instinct was to smash it with my boot? Clearly, I need counseling.

Needless to say, when I came across Jayne’s book, Tintypes, I was intrigued. Her approach to life is so different from my own–she owns a pet Iguana and collects insects for one thing–but that just made me want to learn more about her.

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A native of Texas, Jayne first became intrigued with animalerie (pet shops) while backpacking through Europe and in 1996, Jayne purchased her first insect and soon after began photographing them.

What is unique about Jayne’s approach is that she photographs her insects using a rare 19th century process called tintype. Tintype is a painstaking technique which involves placing a photograph positive on a sheet of metal that is then blackened by paint, lacquer or enamel.

I had never heard of this photographic process, what about you?

So, while I am still a bit squeamish about living peacefully with creepy-crawlies, I am thankful to Jayne for introducing me to a lost art form that I knew nothing about.

Photos © 2008 Jayne Hinds Bidaut

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