As you may have heard, Myrmecos Industries is moving its global headquarters from Illinois to the University of Texas/Austin. Starting in January, Mrs. Myrmecos will be a postdoctoral researcher on bee microbiomes, I will be UT’s new curator of entomology, and mini-Myrmecos will be dictating our domestic affairs and arranging the cats. We are all very excited!
With the move comes tough decisions. I have spent the past months pondering the fate of my photo business, as starting this month I will no longer be able to devote more than a few hours a week to it. By “business”, I mean the commercial side of the operation. I’m not putting down my camera, of course. That would kill me.
I have, for the present, settled on the following strategy. Effective immediately, here is what to expect in the transition.
Things that remain the same:
1. The Alex Wild Photography site will continue to receive updates and new images, as well as offering the usual prints, periodic print sales, and image licenses.
2. The BugShot workshops. Why mess with a good thing?
Things that change:
1. Private photo lessons and commissioned projects are discontinued. I may still consider the occasional request, but the timing and price will work around my new schedule.
2. My images will no longer be available via a 3rd party stock agency (Visuals Unlimited/Corbis.) Abandoning a workload-handling agency may appear counter-intuitive, but the stock industry is experiencing such turmoil that I no longer feel comfortable abrogating licensing rights when I won’t have time to monitor them as the ship sinks. Correspondingly:
3. The sole source of image licenses and permissions will be via the automated shopping cart on my website. I cannot guarantee I will have time to answer other licensing requests promptly.
4. Requests for free images may not be answered. If your intended unpaid use is explicitly covered by my image use policy, then you may proceed without prior permission. Otherwise, permission may be obtained via paid licensing on my website.
Once I am up and running in the UT collections I will reassess the state of things and adjust accordingly.
Atta texana – photographed at Brackenridge Field Laboratory at the University of Texas in Austin.
On January 1st I will be starting as Curator of Entomology at the University of Texas in Austin.* I can’t even begin to convey how excited I am about this unexpected progression of my career. I will be managing a working research collection of over 1 million invertebrates, teaching entomology, and returning in full to ant evolution research. Mrs. Myrmecos (who has concurrently landed a postdoctoral spot in Nancy Moran’s microbiome evolution lab) and I are looking forward to this move for hundreds- perhaps even thousands!- of reasons. Among them: the caliber of our colleagues at UT, the fantastic research environment, the vibrant Austin culture, our many friends in town, a rich subtropical insect fauna. Plus, there are nests of Atta texana leafcutter ants right outside my new office. I mean, really. It’s like the search committee planted them there on purpose.
I mentioned this move was unexpected, and it really was. I began the year with no intention of anything other than moving forward with the insect photography business. My toes had been out the academic job pool since I went indie in 2011, and I’ve been happy running my own show. But a recent visit to the Austin revealed that the particulars of this curator position could be an unusually close fit for both me and for the University of Texas. So, I jumped. We’ll be pulling up our prairie stakes and moving in late fall.
See you in Texas!
*Since nearly everyone who heard the news asked about it, the photo business will continue as a sideline, as it was for many years before I went full-time. The insect photography galleries will remain in place, accumulating new content as time allows. I will no longer have time for private lessons and commissions, alas. The BugShot series of workshops is awesome, of course, and will live on.
A selection of fine art photographs available at the Alex Wild Photography booth in the ESA exhibit hall, located on the corner next to the poster sessions. Click to see the full set.
If there is one single event that generates buzz among insect scientists (ha, ha), it’s the annual Entomological Society of America meeting. This year’s conference, held next week in Austin, Texas, is rumored to be the largest ever. Over 3,000 people are expected to share their latest research, trade tips on field and lab methods, and hunt for new jobs, new students, new employees, and new collaborators. ESA is also tremendous fun, a place to meet like-minded bug nerds and catch up with old friends.
The hashtag- of course there is a hashtag- is #EntSoc13.
The Austin meeting will be a first for me. Not my first ESA- I’ve been many times as student and researcher- but my first time as a professional photographer. I have rented a booth in the exhibitor area.
A booth means I have a fixed place where people can find me to chat about ants, photography, or even ant photography. And I’ll be easy to find. That’s me in #123, the corner stall next to the posters:
If you’re at the meeting, and I know many readers of this blog will be, please feel free to drop in and introduce yourself.
I am also bringing a few items to sell, hoping to offset the not-insignificant cost of renting the space:
In addition to my swag, the famous Ainsley Seago will have some of her wares in my booth, including limited-edition Thripster t-shirts and some snazzy coloring books. Don’t be shy about stopping by.
I do apologize for the slowness of Myrmecos blog over the past few days. The hiatus was for good cause, though:
Helena Holley Wild was born September 12 at 9:19pm. Her interests include napping, milk, and confusing the cats.
My father’s father passed away last night, peacefully, at the age of 95. We called him “Bompa” – a young cousin’s mispronunciation of Grandpa that stuck. I’ve known never known anyone more kind, gentle, and good-natured. We’ll miss you, Bompa.
And yes, that is a propeller beanie.