The Beauty of the Butterfly: Making the Invisible Visible

Butterflies experience a metamorphosis in order to become the beautiful winged creatures we admire, but we often lose sight of the changes that they experience along the way. This time-lapse butterfly footage is making the invisible visible.

“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty,” wrote author and activist Maya Angelou.

For a butterfly, the journey is as important as the destination.

Louie Schwartzberg is a storyteller and filmmaker who has been shooting time-lapse photography of nature, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, non-stop. His work compresses time and put you in sync with different forms of life within our interconnected world.

His work makes the invisible visible. Keeping checking our Making the Invisible Visible series for more time-lapse films.

Louie’s work captures important parts of the journey that organisms like butterflies experience in the natural world. We see the unfettered beauty of the butterfly in the video, but we also see it change from pupa into its adult form.

This sequence captures the scale and scope of the butterfly’s journey and brings the viewer along for the ride.

Butterflies begin their lives as caterpillars, foraging among leaves to grow and mature. When the time is right, they enter the chrysalis stage, undergoing metamorphosis inside of their cocoons.

They emerge as the beautiful fluttering insects we think of them as.

“I’ve spent my life capturing beautiful images,” says Louie. “And whether in wilderness or in the downtown of a giant city, I find connections, universal rhythms, patterns and beauty that I recognize as a part of me, a part of all of us that celebrates life. It’s my great pleasure to share with you that energy which inspires me; this great visual beauty of our world.”

Invisible Visible: Flower Power

“Beauty and seduction, I believe, are nature’s tool for survival, because we will protect what we fall in love with,” says filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg.

“Always take time to smell the flowers, and let it fill you with beauty, and rediscover that sense of wonder. Nature’s beauty is a gift that cultivates appreciation and gratitude.”

Let’s take a few minutes to reflect on flowers.

We walk by flowers every day. We think they’re static, but they’re not. 

They just exist in a different metabolic rate than our own. Every living creature or plant has its own metabolic rate.

To a redwood tree that lives 500 years, we look like time-lapse ants just scurrying around! To a mosquito sitting on your arm, we look like giants moving in slow motion.

Louie Schwartzberg is a storyteller and filmmaker who has been shooting time-lapse photography of nature, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, non-stop. His work compresses time and put you in sync with different forms of life within our interconnected world.

His work makes the invisible visible. 

By seeing nature at this scale, we learn how to appreciate the fullness and richness of time. You can see how every minute of your life is full of tremendous potential.

Even though your life changes with each new decade, you can follow nature’s spirit of resilience and collaboration.

“A garden to walk in and immensity to dream in–what more could he ask? A few flowers at his feet and above him the stars,” wrote Victor Hugo in his famous novel, Les Misérables.

He saw great power and promise in flowers, a shift in consciousness that can change everything.