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Photos of the Insects in Your Home… in the Style of 17th Century Paintings

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Want to see the face of the tiny insects that live in your home? For his project “Suburban Symbiosis: Insectum domesticus,” photographer Daniel Kariko shot close-up portraits of common household insects. The images are gorgeous… and terrifying.

Kariko, an assistant professor of Fine Art Photography at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, uses tweezers to pose each dead insect before photographing them with a scanning electron microscope and stereoscopic microscope. The two sets of images are combined for each resulting shot.

Under the Table, Back Porch, May 6th  [Kudzu Bug]
Under the Table, Back Porch, May 6th [Kudzu Bug]
Front Porch, Doormat, August 14th  [Dryophthorine Weevil]
Front Porch, Doormat, August 14th [Dryophthorine Weevil]
Kitchen Windowsill, September 14th  [Mosquito]
Kitchen Windowsill, September 14th [Mosquito]
Back Porch Screen Door, August 23rd  [Brown and Black Paper Wasp]
Back Porch Screen Door, August 23rd [Brown and Black Paper Wasp]
Window Screen, August 1st  [Cuckoo Wasp]
Window Screen, August 1st [Cuckoo Wasp]
Wood Stack, Back Patio, October 9th  [Blister Beetle]
Wood Stack, Back Patio, October 9th [Blister Beetle]

Kariko also carefully considers the lighting to create a painterly quality to the shots.

“I carefully arrange the LED lighting, small reflectors, and diffusers, in order to achieve a ‘portrait’-like effect inspired by the tradition of 17th Century Dutch masters,” he says. Each photo takes between 15 to 25 hours to create, Kariko tells CNN.

Inside Hallway Window, May 10th  [Green Lacewing]
Inside Hallway Window, May 10th [Green Lacewing]
Office Hallway, October 22nd  [Unidentified Moth]
Office Hallway, October 22nd [Unidentified Moth]
Bathroom Rug, August 2nd  [Carpet Beetle Larvae]
Bathroom Rug, August 2nd [Carpet Beetle Larvae]

“Insects find way into our homes no matter how vigilant we are in our effort to keep the nature on the outer side of our windowpanes,” writes Kariko. “[These] images are meant to be portraits of our often-overlooked housemates.”

Kitchen Window Screen, July 3rd and July 14th  [Two Weevils]
Kitchen Window Screen, July 3rd and July 14th [Two Weevils]
Back Yard Porch, September 12th  [Red Carpenter Ant II]
Back Yard Porch, September 12th [Red Carpenter Ant II]
Sidewalk Crack, September 24th  [Bee]
Sidewalk Crack, September 24th [Bee]
Front Bathroom Rug, August 4th  [American Cockroach Nymph]
Front Bathroom Rug, August 4th [American Cockroach Nymph]
Apartment Sidewalk, September 8th  [Dragonfly]
Apartment Sidewalk, September 8th [Dragonfly]

Kariko has created over 50 photos for the project so far. You can browse through his gallery over on his personal website.

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