Monday, October 18, 2021

The incredible works of artists who use microscopes

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Written by By Monica Arguello, CNN

It’s hard to believe when photographing microscope images of babies, beautiful flowers, or curvy lobsters, but there is an incredible range of microscopes you can see through. There’s the Casio iMD-10, the Nikon FX-format lens camera, and even a 3D XS10.

Microscopes have captured some of the most stunning images in pop culture over the past century. Among the more iconic are the camera lens shots from the early 1900s, which were shot from cardboard boxes and canvas backdrops, or from tiny handheld contraptions.

These ‘aquatic professionals’ were then snapped into the world, creating what once seemed impossible — real-life astrophotography.

Now, there are even more wondrous objects you can scan from microscopic levels.

The single-sheet slides are really the technological answer to one of photography’s major problems: getting images of tiny objects. Microscopes are really only a tiny camera, and often only capable of snapping negatives that are the size of a regular ink pen.

For the most part, there is very little detail visible through the microscope lens, but nature has given us remarkable works of art that only come from the microscopic world.

As the global population continues to grow, the importance of recognizing the importance of micro and nano has been increasingly recognized, but all too often, we only focus on what can be seen through microscope lenses.

“Nature doesn’t understand geometry. It doesn’t understand distance, it doesn’t understand depth, and to try to represent that with the kind of formats we have now is almost impossible,” said Martin Bolz, senior curator at the International Center of Photography.

“You wouldn’t think that because you haven’t seen it really that high a magnification it’s going to look beautiful, but actually, just by working in pixels, you can really crank up the resolution and detail and still make it look aesthetically lovely. It’s really an exciting challenge to do these detailed work, and also the difficulty of the technology behind the microscope, the techniques involved for how you work these cameras, which is a really old technology, it’s a very familiar technology, it’s a very familiar photographic process, it’s a photography that has the benefits of human hands.”

Many of these works are big issues and are painted in terms of larger social and political aspirations.

Some of the most noteworthy examples of these collection of “incredible images taken through microscopes” include Vincent van Gogh’s self-portrait as a snail; the work of Jasper Johns’ butterfly with magnified to the size of a tennis ball; and Edward Weston’s painting of the starfish caught with its lifeblood nearly cut out of it.

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