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NOTE:  The photographs are made in a studio, or outdoors, using LIVE frogs. They are NOT multiple or composite images, or examples of digital art.

Artist Statement

For my frog series, I use a portrait studio and a creative lighting set-up and one or more live frogs. 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 tropical 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 looking through the camera. 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 that I had, just to see what I could do. Making numerous 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 “Flowers and Nature” and “Work and Play” series’. “Work and Play” 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 a fraction of a second. And very often they’re photographed while moving. The frogs crawl, climb, and jump, as frogs do. I just need 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 pictures.

Steven Daniel


Steven Daniel in Costa Rica.
* Profile Photo (above) taken in Costa Rica by John Hartung 6
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