Book Review – Dragonflies – A Coalescence of Water, Air, Science, Art and Romance

Vulnerable and dependent on fresh, clean water sources, water-lily-392570_640dragonflies are born hideously ugly. They hunt, hide and pick their way through pond bottoms for the majority of their year-long life.dragonfly-188275-sm

Then, illuminated by moonlight, they transform into creatures that inspire dreams of fancy. Upon warming breezes, they take to the air to perform their aerial ballet.sun-403552-sm

Every culture through time has observed and been captivated by these nimble, sparkling insects. Mythology of fairies must surely have origins with the dragonfly.

Fossil from Green River formation in Wyoming. Age: 34 million years
Fossil from Green River formation in Wyoming. Age: 34 million years

Peter van Dokkum, a Yale Astronomy Professor and dedicated insect photographer blends art and science together in his beautiful mini-coffee table book. Combining his own observations and photographs with anatomy and life cycle information, he deepens the level of understanding about these creatures in a way that doesn’t sound like a dry textbook or field guide. Dragonflies is a pleasure to read, contemplate and refer back too.

Dragonflies by Peter van Dokkum
Dragonflies by Peter van Dokkum

As a fellow dragonfly photographer and artist, I appreciate the time and skill it took for Dokkum to amass his photo collection. Images of dragonflies in flight, egg laying and eating were of particular interest and admiration.

Knowing my fondness for the creatures, my husband purchased Dragonflies for me as a surprise. And what a delight it is!

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