Monarch Butterflies Reserva de la Biosfera Mariposa Monarca Michoacán, México
“Butterflies represent change and transformation, and finding joy in life and lightness of being. An important message carried by the spirit of the butterfly is about the ability to go through important changes with grace and lightness.”
At the end of February I was officially past my first trimester of pregnancy. This was truly a joy for both myself and my husband and it was then we started to travel again. I was talking to a friend of mine Lila Shaw and she mentioned she wanted me to photograph a project for her with Diana Kennedy in Michoacan. How could I say no? I also found out we would be really close to the Monarch Butterflies, near Angangueo. I knew I wanted to photograph the butterflies for my series, but we were at the end of the season (end of March-beginning April) and there were no guarantee’s they would still be there. On the first day we arrived, as we were all out on the lawn playing with our dogs at the hotel, two women approached us. One of them knew Shaw and was saying hello. The other woman introduced herself and she happened to be the director of the Monarch Butterfly Reserve…and so this image was born. Such perfect timing! Two days later we hiked to the top of the mountain where we thought we might still find some monarch butterflies, an almost two hour hike, but with no luck. What we instead was collect several dead butterflies with someone from the reserve. We knew we could take them back to the directors office and photograph there and after using the dead butterflies we would return them to the same location. This is because the dead butterflies have pheromones that tell the butterflies that arrive the following season where they are located, in order for them to gather in the same spot year after year. The importance of bringing awareness to this dying species is incredible. From 2013 to 2014 the reserve has seen only half the amount of butterflies returning to Mexico. This is mainly due to pesticides being used in the north to kill off Milkweed plants which they feed off of during their great migration south.
Here are a couple more images of the Monarch Butterflies. It took some time to place each butterfly in these women’s hair, as the wind kept on blowing them off!