Photographer Vincent Brady’s most recent project uses an unusual light source: the mesmerizing glow of the firefly. His time-lapse photographs and videos are nothing short of stunning. The artist spent the summer of 2013 chasing the insects around Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri and his hometown of Grand Ledge, Mich. He exercised a diverse set of skills including long-exposure image stacking, meticulous editing, and steering a pontoon boat through narrow creeks on moonless nights.
The fireflies fill the frames with a frenzied movement that enables Brady to express a sense of transience against still ponds and starry skies. This romantic nod to non-permanence may recall a lost childhood pastime, but for the artist, the insects’ unpredictability sometimes created more practical challenges. The exact time and place of the firefly “disco,” he told me, often depended upon heat, humidity, and even the phase of the moon—they prefer to “throw down” in relative darkness, he says.
But it is in this erratic behavior that the artist most admires the insects. As he writes on his website, “Fireflies just bless you with their presence, light up, make love, and call it a life.” Brady captures the whole cycle in his frames.