Issue 45: Kite Bugs

Someone came up to Ronda at Fort Worden 2001 and said “I found these at a garage sale and thought you could use them”. These, were two tea strainers soldered together and adorned with red, white and blue vinyl tubing, to be worn as glasses to give the wearer a stunning Bug Eyed look. I needed someone to try them on, so, Dawn Frankwick became my first subject. Little did I know that four years later I would be on a photo expedition of the elusive Kite Flyer Bugs.

The Bug Eyes had gone missing for about four years. They reappeared this past July, just before we set off to Brookings for the 13th annual Southern Oregon Kite Festival. Saturday morning as I unpacked the car I discovered that Ronda had included the Bug Eyes. Of course knowing Ronda, nothing would be left at home. As I picked up the Bug Eyes I thought it would be a great idea to take some shots of the kite flyers wearing them. With my newly purchased camera in hand, I was off.

I didn’t have a clue as to the reactions I would get. As I would find out, all you have to do is hand these goofy things to your subject and they put them on. The expressions range from the Happy Smiley bug, the Wide Opened Mouth bug, the Stoic bug, the Mister Mean bug, to the ‘Do I Really Have To?’ bug. Along with the kite flyers, I photographed the spectators, the coffee vendors and a dog. I’ve only had three people turn me down.  They do make the loudest crunch. Two days and over 80 photographs later, I was hooked.

My next expedition led me to the gathering of kite flyers at the 2005 AKA National Convention in Ocean City, Maryland. Over the next ten days I was able to photograph close to two hundred new specimens. Most were from the United States but many were from foreign countries including Canada, England, Italy, Romania, Poland, Russia and New Jersey.

Via the link near the bottom of this page, you can browse the entire collection in the Kitelife Forum’s gallery… If you come across someone you know who hasn’t been identified, please take a moment to email us with the person’s name and which photo we should add it to.

My present Kite Flyer Bug collection includes 226 varieties, 48 from Brookings and 178 from The 2005 AKA National Convention.

You could be next.

Lindsey Johnson

To view the whole collection, click here.