Thanks! Actually, in my eyes more light or contrast would only hurt the image and make it look unnatural. Over-contrasted and unevenly/unnaturally lit images (such as those usually produced by flash photography) are exactly what I try to avoid throughout my work. I ideally try to display the animals as though the viewer were inside their world.
But here what makes it catchy is actually an unnatural character of the photo. The light comes from bottom. This reverse light creates a light like an old theater scene or a museum. The model looks like a sculpture in a square in the city. This is something good. It is a tool of artists to create a stress in the work to make it outstanding. It is the creators point of view. This I like it very much and I look for it (It doesn't mean that I am good at it Unfortunately I'm not ).
To rephrase my comment a little bit more detailed: I wanted to say that the photo lacks a little bit an impact point. Usually this is normal to select the face as the first impact point. It is a quite awesome photo. But could have been better with just a little bit of post-processing.
I understand your approach, but as I've mentioned, for me this is neither the objecive, nor the ideal. Although it's sometimes very tempting (and usually easier), I do my best to avoid my shots looking like studio shots or directed shots. I try to show nature in the most natural way I can, and this is true in all my shots and in this one too: the mantis was orientated so the natural light came from the lower right. This is the amount of contrast this creature has in reality. The head was lit exactly like you see, and I'm not going to make it shine more than the rest of the body- this is the opposite of what I'm trying to achieve!
Oh, and it is post-processed, like all my shots. But this is as far as this photographer will go
You and I are polar opposites my friend: No one can see these creatures with the detail level that I can show them, so by default the image is already unnatural and I'm not constrained in how I light or frame them
Everyone has their own extent of "purism". I disagree with going competely loose using the excuse that it's "already unnatural" because each and every photographic image is unnatural in essence, and so this reasoning can result in a problematic understanding of what nature photography actually is. I prefer to make my images "as natural as possible" and work hard to achieve this. Not everyone must follow this ideal, but one must always remember that if one's purpose is to show the beauty of the natural world, what if not a natural look should be the main guideline, or at least one of the guidelines? Framing is not a problem for me, as it is an artistic decision to begin with, having nothing to do with realism. But lighting is different. One should give some hard thought to how lighting affects one's images' appearence and feel, produce this feel INTENTIONALLY and be complete with it. If that's the situation, any decision is fine.