By Iain Watts and Kim Reader
A dad has captured the ‘cute and cuddly’ side of spiders with a sequence of amazing close-ups of different British arachnids in their incy-wincy world.
Matt Doogue, 33, has spent two years compiling a stunning series of macro shots which feature various species of spider common across Britain.
As spider season approaches, dad-of-two Matt wants to showcase a side to the eight-legged critters that most people don’t ever see.
With their googly eyes and fuzzy faces to their distinct markings and vibrant colours, Matt hopes the striking details in his snaps will make even arachnophobes think twice about squashing the tiny creatures.
Holographic engineer Matt, of Bathgate, Scotland, said: “I started the series because I’m just fascinated with insects and arachnids and I enjoy showing people things they would never normally see.
“A lot of people who walk past a spider will just kill it but I want to stomp out that hatred towards them.
“They get a lot of bad press but they’re needed in the environment and the ecology of our gardens.
“It’s spider season coming up. It’s not a good time of year for them. They’ve been out all summer and they start coming into people houses but people instantly react by killing them.
“They’re just coming in to get warm – they’re not coming to eat you – but they end up getting squashed.
“I hope that by offering people a closer look at them they’ll see that they’re actually quite cute and cuddly, especially jumping spiders with their fur and big eyes.
“You hear jumping spider and it immediately inspires fear but really if you look at them they’re very cute.
“I also think the photos show just how small and fluffy they are so people will realise they’re nothing to be afraid of.”
Nature enthusiast Matt, who lives with his wife Abigail Doogue, 30, and daughters Jasmine Doogue, 10, and Amber Doogue, seven, is so passionate about insects and spiders that he does talks at his girls’ school.
The dad also helps with the running of a local conservation group to inspire people to get out and do more to help wildlife and the environment.
It was Matt’s fascination with creepy crawlies that inspired him to get into macro photography and give people a closer look at some of nature’s more misunderstood critters.
Matt said: “If kids nowadays see an insect or a spider their immediate reaction is to squash it unless it’s a butterfly or lady bird – something from the nursery rhymes.
“But I do talks at my daughters’ school and I take in different insects and arachnids for them to look at and inspect so they understand that they’re not something to be feared.
“I got into photography about seven years ago, taking photos of the girls and our family hikes.
“But as soon as I discovered macro photography four years ago, I was hooked.
“I love showing people things they could never see with their own eyes. I love shocking and wowing them.
“That’s how you get people interested – you shock them so they want to ask questions and find out more.”