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Meet scientist and photographer James Dorey

Entomologist and photographer Dr James Dorey has combined a love of two fields of work to produce stunning images of insects with both scientific and artistic value.

A new poster featuring 23 of Australia’s native bees has been launched to raise crucial funds to support scientists identify and document an estimated 1,000 native Australian bees.

The Discover Bees of Australia poster supports researchers to identify and name all of Australia’s native bees before they go extinct.

The new poster features the work of entomologist and photographer Dr James Dorey, an Adjunct Lecturer at Adelaide University who is currently looking at the evolution, taxonomy, and ecology of Australian, Fijian, and global native bees.

Driven by his love of nature, Dr Dorey started his career in ecology and zoology and admits he wasn’t particularly interested in insects in the early days of his career.
The change came when he bought a second-hand 100mm macro lens for his camera, a move that changed the focus of both his study and his photography into insects, and bees in particular.

“I was especially drawn to bees for their diversity and the enormous number of species,” Dr Dorey says.
The new lens enabled the entomologist to explore a new, literally, undiscovered world. “I was amazed by the diversity of animals you can find – there is so much going on in such a small space!”

Dr Doreywas initially inspired by photographing parasitoid wasps which are known as the most diverse groups of animals on the planet. He says he would often find “eight or nine wasp species in my suburban backyard”.

However, he then discovered there could be more than 30 bee species on a single tree in Brisbane. “I was blown away by that.”

His work describing and classifying new species of native bees provides many of the subjects of his photography. The extraordinary images featured on the Discover Bees of Australia poster require between five and 150 photographs of a single subject to create. “The macro lens basically focuses closer – what you’re seeing in the frame is the same as in real life or even larger. You can really isolate a subject.”

The incredibly detailed images James provide the viewer with an insight into a world not normally seen by the human eye, an invitation to a new perspective and hopefully a new understanding of this secret world which is so important to the environment that surrounds us.

Dr Dorey has released a book, Bees of Australia – A Photographic Exploration, published through CSIRO, as well as contributing to many respected magazines, journals, and awards. Last year he won the Botanical category in the Australian Geographic ANZANG photography competition.

Read more about the Discover Bees program at wheenbeefoundation.org.au/our-work/projects/discoverbees

You can see more of James’s extraordinary photographs at his website JamesDoreyPhotography.com.au.

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