Murawski, Darlyne A.
Murawski, Darlyne A.
Education: Art Institute of Chicago, M.F.A.; University of Texas, Ph.D.
Alfred Eisenstaedt Awards for nature photography, 1998, 1999; Communications Arts award of Excellence for nature photography, 2001.
(Contributor) M. Lowman and N. Nadkarni, editors, Forest Canopies, Academic Press (New York, NY), 1995.
The World of Reptiles: Ranger Rick Science Spectacular, Newbridge Communications, Inc., 1997.
Bug Faces, National Geographic Society (Washington, DC), 2000.
Spiders and Their Webs, National Geographic Society (Washington, DC), 2004.
Animal Faces, Sterling Publishing (New York, NY), 2005.
Face to Face with Caterpillars, National Geographic Society (Washington, DC), 2007.
Contributor to popular magazines and scholarly journals, including Ecology, Conservation Biology, Biotropica, American Journal of Botany, Journal of Heredity, Selbyana, Journal of Tropical Ecology, Plant Species Biology, Plant Science Tomorrow, Oecologia, and Heredity. Contributor of wildlife photography to calendars and magazines, including National Geographic.
Few people find their life's calling at the age of five, but Darlyne A. Murawski did just that. While flipping through a medical book, she discovered highly detailed photographs of the many parasites that live on—or in—the human body. Fascinated by the complexity of these tiny creatures, she embarked on a study of insects that eventually dovetailed with her interest in fine-art photography. Now a trained botanist with a Ph.D. in biology, Murawski is best known for her vivid photographs of insects, spiders, caterpillars, and unusual animals. These photos can be enjoyed by young readers through her books, which include Bug Faces, Spiders and Their Webs, Animal Faces, and Face to Face with Caterpillars.
Murawski's graduate work included photographing butterflies in rain forests and other locations, and her book Face to Face with Caterpillars draws on this by presenting extreme close-ups of butterflies' larval stage. In
the work she combines bright pictures with facts about each species and an overview of the entire butterfly life cycle. Nancy Call, writing in School Library Journal, called the book "attractive, well written, and fascinating." A Kirkus Reviews critic cited Face to Face with Caterpillars for its "spectacular close-up views" adding that the format makes "intriguing reading and viewing."
Bug Faces and Animal Faces feature full-page color photographs of some unusual creatures that children may never have seen before. The animals Murawski presents include common ones such as squirrels, but also crabs, sloths, and lizards—all photographed from extreme close-up. Cassandra A. Lopez, writing in School Library Journal, found Animal Faces to be "a delightful walk on the wild side," while in the same periodical Edith Ching described Bug Faces as "visually appealing." Ching also thought that Murawski's work "encourages youngsters to make up-close and personal observations." According to Hazel Rochman in her Booklist review of Bug Faces, "the immediate effect is both yucky and beautiful."
Spiders and Their Webs also combines Murawski's vivid photographs with fast facts about spiders and their habits. According to Booklist correspondent Gillian Engberg, the book invites "reluctant children to move beyond spiders' creepy reputation." Writing in School Library Journal, Karey Wehner appreciated Spiders and Their Webs for its "marvelous pictures, clear text, and fresh approach to a popular subject."
Murawski received her first camera as a gift from her parents when she was ten years old. In order to photograph insects in such extreme close-up, she has developed macro lenses and has even attached her cameras to microscopes. "I have to be careful, though," she said in an interview with Science World. "Shine too much light on them, and the bugs fry."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, November 15, 2000, Hazel Rochman, review of Bug Faces, p. 644; December 1, 2004, Gillian Engberg, review of Spiders and Their Webs, p. 668.
Kirkus Reviews, September 15, 2004, review of Spiders and Their Webs, p. 917; May 1, 2007, review of Face to Face with Caterpillars.
School Library Journal, November, 2000, Edith Ching, review of Bug Faces, p. 146; March, 2005, Karey Wehner, review of Spiders and Their Webs, p. 196; March, 2006, Cassandra A. Lopez, review of Animal Faces, p. 199; June, 2007, Nancy Call, review of Face to Face with Caterpillars, p. 175.
Science World, September 6, 1999, "Hot Job: Photo ‘Bug’ Lady."
Darlyne A. Murawski Home Page,http://www.darlynemurawski.com (September 28, 2008).