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Posted: 5th February 2012

"Small World is regarded as the leading forum for showcasing the beauty and complexity of life as seen through the light microscope. For over 30 years, Nikon has rewarded the world's best photomicrographers who make critically important scientific contributions to life sciences, bio-research and materials science."

Brilliant collection of images. Fascinating close-ups and more importantly, explores what the images are about.
With these images - it is the scale of them that is the 'process'. Merely photographing something small there is a method. And with photographs such as these, it is also what has been captured - cancer cells, organisms, technology, minerals.

These images capture the pure beauty in things..their 'just-being'.

Winners 2010

1st Place: Jonas King Vanderbilt University, Department of Biological Sciences Nashville, Tennessee, USA
Anopheles gambiae (mosquito) heart (100x)


6th Place: Dr John Huisman, Murdoch University, School of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology, Murdoch, Western Australia, Australia. Martensia sp. (red seaweed), living specimen (40X), Brightfield


15th Place: Dr Ralf Wagner, Düsseldorf, Germany. Divaricatic acid from Evernia divaricata (lichen), recrystallised from acetone (10X), Polarised light

These patterns are amazing - shapes that would take someone forever to create - nature has had a head-start.


8th Place: Honorio Cocera-La Parra, Geology Museum, University of Valencia, Benetusser, Valencia, Spain. Cacoxenite (mineral) (18X), Reflected light


10th Place: Yanping Wang, Beijing Planetarium, Beijing, China. Crystallised soy sauce (16X), Reflected and Transmitted Light


Winners 2011

6th Place: Dennis Callahan, California Institute of Technology Department of Applied Physics & Materials Science, Pasadena, California, USA. Cracked gallium arsenide solar cell films (50X),

Some of these images seem to loose their sense of perspective and scale - they could be micro or macro in size. One book I have captures this is Heaven and Earth: Unseen by the Naked Eye edited by Katherine Roucoux. This book takes you on a journey from the very small to the very big and categorises them in relation to each other. Beautiful deltas that could be branches of a tree - just shows how nature works on different levels.

The Big Things...?

Another piece of work that plays on this very idea is the Devour project by Christopher Jonassen.
Celestial bodies, moons or distant planets far away....

...or 'just' frying pans!

And the small things...

Robert Hook's Micrographia ( has been on my wish-list for ages. It just amazes me the level of detail and accuracy that was achieved in 1665.


The other aspect of these images that have always interested me are the colours that are chosen. I've often wanted to find out if there was a particular colour coding system within science, or if the decision was down to the individual artist.


Found this competition from this article:

Further Reading

Lisa Park - Euonia

Reading about Lisa Park's work - Euonia (Greek for Beautiful Thinking) I was really interested in the idea of technology interfaces.