ADVENTURES OF A TREE FROG
Photographs of LIVE Tree Frogs
NOTE: The following photographs are made in a studio, or outdoors, using LIVE frogs. They are NOT multiple or composite images, or examples of digital manipulation.
Artist Statement – (About The Frogs)
For my new frog series, I use a portrait studio and an elaborate lighting set-up and one or more live frogs. In many cases I’ll use backgrounds painted by a fellow artist. I use realistic-looking miniatures, such as the four-inch drum set in the "Drummer Frog" picture, to create a lifelike scene. A patient assistant wrangles the frogs into position, as in the "Electric Frog" photograph in which the frog's hands are placed on the tiny guitar strings.
The frog series came about following my time working as a newspaper photographer and exhibiting black and white work. I was looking for a new challenge. I found inspiration in the uniqueness of tree frogs and their vivid colors. My first successful photograph was the "Frog Standing on Leaf" picture. A friend helped nudge the frog into position while I stood behind the camera, but on the third try the frog disappeared. "Where's the frog?" I asked, while still looking through the viewfinder. My friend responded, laughing: "He's on your camera!”
Later, I put the frog on a miniature bicycle I had been given by a friend, just to see what would happen. Making several attempts over a couple of days, we managed to make the frog look like he was riding a real bike.
I really enjoyed the new challenge. I started looking for exotic and tropical flowers, and scouring specialty shops for miniatures to use as props in the studio. This marked the beginning of the "Frogs on Leaves and Flowers" and "Frogs on Wheels" series’. "Frogs on Wheels" expanded to include pictures of frogs with other miniatures, such as musical instruments and sporting equipment.
The frogs are unpredictable, and many times the final image isn't what I originally planned. People frequently ask how I get the frogs to stay in place, and the answer is that I don't. I just need the frog to be still for 1/60th of a second. And in many cases, they're photographed in motion: the frogs crawl, climb, and jump, as frogs do. I just try to catch them at the right moment. When I'm successful, it looks like trick photography. But they’re not composites or computer-generated images. The frogs are real - and so are the photographs.
About The Photographer
Steven Daniel is an award-winning photojournalist. His work has been published both nationally and internationally.
Mr. Daniel developed a strong interest in black & white fine-art photography after seeing a book of photographic portraits by Diane Arbus. An exhibition by Henry Cartier-Bresson at the International Center of Photography in New York City fired his imagination, and his passion for documentary photography began.
He studied at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan majoring in Photography and studying under renowned photojournalist Stephen Shames and master printer Sidney Kaplan.
During the 1980s he worked as a freelance photographer in New York City where his work appeared in: The New York Times, USA Today, New York Daily News, People Magazine, The National Law Journal
In Connecticut, where he lived and worked for 20 years, before his recent move to Pennsylvania, his work as a photographer for the Greenwich and the Stamford newspapers, won him many state and regional awards. "I think that newspaper work is the best photographic training available, Daniel wrote, "The pace is fast, the standards are high and the experience is broad-based." It is from this work that Daniel’s light, often humorous work emerges.
His photographs have been exhibited at: The Katonah Museum, Mattatuck Museum, Museum of Art, Science & Industry, The Rosenthal Gallery, The Broad Street Gallery, Silvermine Guild Galleries, Greenwich Arts Center Gallery, Sacred Heart University, Iona College, Labriola Gallery and Galleria d’Arte.