All photos © Nicky Bay.
For the last several years Singapore-based photographer Nicky Bay (previously here and here) has been documenting the life of the mirror spider, an unusual arthropod whose abdomen is covered in bright reflective panels that appear almost metallic. Bay recently noticed that some of the spiders exhibit unusual behavior in addition to their shiny appearance: apparently the spiders are able manipulate the mirrors in situations where they might feel threatened. In some instances the gaps between the silver plates almost completely disappear creating a larger reflective surface.
Bay continues to update his original post about the mirror spiders on his blog with new photography, and you can see a massive archive of macro insect photos on Flickr.
Using subtle changes in light and shadow, French photographer Pascal Goet subtly manipulates the details of a variety of insects, highlighting their anthropomorphic appearance. Goet does not alter any of the colors associated with the brilliantly hued bugs, but instead focuses on letting areas of the body fade away or become more pronounced. Through this process faces emerge, a human reflection in an otherwise unrelatable species. This aspect is especially pronounced when printed quite large for exhibitions, where the audience has their own face come into contact with an imitation of one.
“An authenticity is vital for my involvement in this work,” said Goet to Colossal. “The large size prints create a genuine encounter between the viewer and these amazing personages, people of a parallel world.”
Goet has been shooting macro photography for the past 26 years. He had a solo exhibition of this work earlier this year at Paris-based Blin Plus Blin simply titled “Mask.” You can see more images of this series on his website. (via Colossal Submissions)
An ex-military photographer, Aaron Ansarov retired from the Navy in 2007, transforming his skills to create commercial work for magazines and focus on his own practice. Fascinated with marine life since his days growing up in Central Florida, his series “Zooids,” focuses on detailed images of Portuguese Man o’ War. Ansarov photographs the creatures on a homemade light table while alive, then immediately releases them back into the wild where they were found.
Once shot and the Man o’ War are returned, each image receives minimal manipulation, as Ansarov makes only slight adjustments to the photograph’s exposure, contrast, and vibrancy to highlight the vivid details of each venomous siphonophore. The completed works are otherworldly, appearing like alien illustrations rather than portraits, with deep blues, purples, and pinks unfurling in every direction. You can see more of Ansarov’s illuminated images on Facebook and Instagram. (via Fubiz)
Commercial photographer Levon Biss typically shoots portraits of world-class athletes—sports players caught in motion. His new series however, catches subjects that have already been paused, insect specimens found at the Oxford Museum of Natural History. The series originally started as a side-project capturing the detail of bugs that his son would catch at home, and is now displayed at the museum in an exhibition titled Microsculpture.
During the course of his selection from the museum’s collection Biss rejected more than 99% of the bugs he came across, only choosing those that were of the right size and color. To capture these subjects in such immense detail, each part of the insect required a completely different lighting setup.
“I will photograph an antenna and light that antenna so it looks as best as it possibly can,” said Biss. “Once I move onto the next section, for example the eye, the lighting will change completely. I work my way across the whole body of the insect until I end up with 30 different sections, each photographed individually.”
Working in this comprehensive manner required between 8,000 and 10,000 shots for each final image, moving the camera just ten microns (1/7th of the width of a human hair) between each shot. With this volume of imagery, it takes over two weeks for Biss to complete each photograph start to finish.
You can see Microsculpture through October 30th at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History where the images are displayed next to their actual specimens. In case you can’t make it to the UK, you can take a detailed look at all 22 of Biss’s images on his interactive Microsculpture website. (via PetaPixel)
Here’s a new experimental short titled Memories of Paintings from director Thomas Blanchard (previously) who continues to experiment with colorful paint, oil, milk, and liquid soap filmed with a macro lens as it mixes and cascades in front of the camera. I could watch footage like this forever. Set to music by Bronix.
In this series of photographs featuring the delicate details of peacock feathers, photographer Waldo Nell relied on an Olympus BX 53 microscope to take hundreds of individual shots that were combined to create each image seen here. The process, called photo stacking, blends dozens or even hundreds of photos taken at different focal points and then stitches them together to extend the depth of field. At this level of detail the feathers look more like ornate jewelry, thick braids of iridescent necklaces or bracelets, rather than something that grows organically from the wings of a bird.
By day Nell is a software engineer in Port Moody, BC, Canada, but is fascinated by technology, science, and nature, all of which he merges in his photography practice. You can see more of his work on Flickr. (via Reddit)