Photographer Captures Insects in Unbelievable Magnification

British photographer Levon Biss likes to examine his subjects up close. Right up close. In one of his most mesmerizing series, titled Microsculpture, he captures insects in mind-blowing magnification that has taken the genre of microscopy to an entirely new level. 

His art is often described as a marriage between art and science, made by adapting traditional macro techniques to create a photographic process that reveals the minute detail of insects. His photographs are printed in large-scale formats, with insects that are only millimeters long being presented as 3 meter high prints. Each image takes 3 weeks to create and is produced from over 8000 individual photographs. 

“I’ve been shooting for 20 years, and you get to a point where you get stuck in a rut,” Biss told Lecture in Progress. “So I was looking to do different projects. I had these big visions of documenting monsoons in Asia or something epic like that. But then one day my son brought in a little Graham beetle from the back garden, and we looked at it under his microscope. It made me realize how stunning these creatures are up-close. It became the first insect I photographed. It was a challenge to see if I could take all the lighting and studio skills, that I’d be honing for over 20 years, and translate them onto a subject that was five millimeters long, and still keep all the clarity and the creative control.”

“I started researching macro techniques, microscopy, objectives and microscopes and shooting my own specimens from the garden,” he explained. “After a while, the photographic process got to a point where I felt I needed better specimens to shoot. I went to the Oxford Museum of Natural History, presented some of my work and asked if they were interested in collaborating. I kept zooming into the images and they couldn’t quite believe what they were seeing. They gave me open access to their entire collection, and the assistance of their entomologist James Hogan who helped me find and prepare the specimens.”

Take a look at some of his incredible insect shots.