Doctor Bugs



© Chen Elbaz,

Ha'aretz Magazine, Israel

"I came to photography by accident. In graduate school I decided do research on the ants of tropical Asia.  I wanted to stay in Asia for as long as possible—a dozen countries in 29 months on that first trip, as it turned out. Anticipating I’d make extraordinary discoveries I decided my doctoral committee might wonder if I had been smoking exotic substances with a guru unless I returned with solid documentation.  So I learned how to take pictures using a book about supermodels. I applied the idea of "fill light" and "hair light" to macrophotography— the photography of the very small. What can I say? It worked. With under $230 in camera gear, including flashes so cheap they often electrocuted me, my dissertation subject lead to my first published photographs in an article for National Geographic Magazine.”

Mark Moffett

"The ant photographs of Mark Moffett, a Harvard-trained ecologist, are often compared to art."

Alex Chadwick, NPR

Five of my images made the grade for the “100 Best Wildlife Pictures" special edition of National Geographic. My work has travelled the world as part of several “Pictures of the Year” Awards. I received both the Best Picture and Best Story awards for images of Brazil’s Atlantic Forest, a feat meriting a news item in National Geographic Magazine. In 2012, I lectured at The Annenberg Space for Photography in LA. In 2009 PhotoMedia Magazine published a profile of me. An association of National Geographic photographers has posted some of my work. Also, National Geographic posted an excerpt of their TV special that followed me in Panama shooting a story for them on pollination.

My images are available from Minden Pictures 

Turn up the sound and watch a sample slideshow
of my images, right.


Nature photography remains trapped in a decades-old obsession with technique over content. Preoccupations with calendar-style perfection or portraits of animals against plain studio backgrounds continue to be supported by uninspired editors, even when people recognize and appreciate images that show an investigative sense of discovery that dig deep into the subject’s life. My thoughts about nature photography as journalism and science are presented in Magnificent Moments: the World’s Great Wildlife Photographs
(G.H. Harrison, editor).

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Watch Mark’s  Slideshow