Levon Biss‘s exhibit Microscuplture is one of the most entrancing macro photography projects we’ve run across. A “unique visual experience,” the series and exhibition is made up of unimaginably detailed macro photographs of insects captured using a microscope lens.
By trade, Biss is a portrait photographer who specializes in capturing world-class athletes; his talent for capturing insects started as a side-project in his home, and featured bugs caught by his own son. But he poured his whole skill as a photographer and light master into those images, and when he showed them to the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, Microsculpture was born and his specimens got a LOT more intricate.
With his pick of the museum’s massive collection of insects, Biss picked some of the most colorful, beautifully textured, and perfectly preserved specimens the museum had on hand and took them home to produce images like these:
The amount of work that went into each of these images boggles the mind. As he explains in the behind the scenes video embedded below, each final image is made up of between 8,000 and 10,000 individual photos, because the depth of field of a microscope lens is so incredibly shallow.
What’s more, each section of the insect must be lit a little differently. The eyes might require one type of lighting, the wings another, and the torso yet another. In all, it takes Biss about 2 weeks to shoot and process together each final image.
He explains this and much more in the BTS video below:
The exhibition will run from May 27th through October 30th of this year in the main court of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, and each print (some of them 3 meters in size!) will be presented next to the actual specimen to give attendees an idea of the actual scale of what they’re looking at.
But you don’t have to live in the UK or attend the exhibit to see these beauties (although, if you can, we certainly would suggest it). You can see all 22 specimens on the Microsculpture website in beautiful, zoomable, interactive detail by clicking here.
Mr. Biss’ other work can be found on his website.
Image credits: Photographs by Levon Biss and used with permission.