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Photomicrography Art Competition 2014

Caterpillar Proleg with Circle of Gripping Hooks by Karin Panser

This years winners have been selected for their placement in the 2014 Nikon Photomicrography Competition.The photomicrography competition recognizes excellence in photography with optical microscopes and is a worldwide art competition.

Artists from all over the world submit their artist photography works for consideration in this event.The prestigious competition truly sheds light on the beauty of science.

Photomicrography is the art of photography using optical microscopes.  A photomicrograph is a technical document of great significance to science or the research industry. A good photomicrograph becomes a work of art when it’s structure, color, composition, and content is an object of beauty, open to various levels of comprehension and appreciation.

Artists who enter in the photography competition are not restricted to specific types of subject matter and are free to use any type of light microscopy techniques to create their art.  Examples of the different types of light microscopy techniques range from phase contrast, polarized light, fluorescence, interference contrast, darkfield, confocal, deconvolution, and mixed techniques.

All art entries are judged by an independent panel of experts recognized for their professional authority in the areas of photography and photomicrography. Competition winners are selected based upon their entries’ originality, informational content, technical proficiency and visual impact.

The top 20 photomicrography competition winners are exhibited at numerous museums and science centers throughout the US and Canada. Selected images are also featured on the covers of prestigious scientific and industrial journals.

A few of this years photomicrography winning entries are below:

Bovine Pulmonary Artery Endothelial Cells by Dr. Muthugapatti K. Kandasamy
Rhombohedral Cleavage in Calcite Crystal by Alessandro Da Mommio
Caterpillar Proleg with Circle of Gripping Hooks by Karin Panser





About the Competition

The Nikon International Small World Competition first began in 1975 as a means to recognize and applaud the efforts of those involved with photography through the light microscope. The competition is the leading showcase for photomicrographers from the widest array of scientific disciplines.

The Nikon Small World Gallery provides a glimpse into a world that most have never seen. It is a window into a universe that can only be seen through the lens of a microscope. Included in the Small World Gallery are images from the most recent competition and winning photomicrographs dating back to 1977.

The Nikon Small World galleries are also featured on Nikon’s MicroscopyU, an educational forum for all aspects of optical microscopy, digital imaging, and photomicrography. Together with the scientists and programmers at Molecular Expressions, Nikon microscopists and engineers are providing the latest state-of-the-art information in microscope optics and imaging technology including specialized techniques such as fluorescence, differential interference contrast (DIC), phase contrast, reflected light microscopy, and microscopy of living cells.


All Images Courtesy of Nikon Small World

The Importance of Art Remains Unchanged

art develops learning skills in youthSince the dawn of time long before books were even thought of and the capability to print them was even further out of reach, the study of art has been a fundamental part of our life. In the early evolution of our civilization when the alphabet didn’t even exist yet, art was used to communicate and to share experiences and one’s history with future generations by drawings in caves, on rock walls, and later on murals in royal cathedrals. In fact Art was the only way people knew how to transfer a message any length of distance either time or space.

Art is a communicator of many things; history, experience, teachings, emotions, and inner perceptions that are not easily expressed with words. Art has been in existence longer than any other tool used in history for communication, but this is not the only use of art.

In the early medieval century, the study of Art was included as one of the seven core subjects deemed a necessity for achieving scholarly education. Scholars, theologians, and even the church powers that ruled our early world, all agreed on the powerful skills that studying art develops in humans.

This still hold very true today and recently the value of the arts and arts education program’s importance were addressed . Backed by years of research and developmental studies, the findings shows that “participation in the arts – music, visual arts, dance or drama/theatre, design, lead to higher levels of self-confidence, persistence, civic engagement, creativity, problem-solving ability and critical thinking skills in students.”(Art Smart, NCLS)

The need for further funding and programs designed to bolster these strengths in students is a real issue. When budget cuts are made, often they try to cut funding form the arts programs first. Recent education meetings to address this lack of funding and generate more high-quality art programs to enhance our children’s abilities have been underway.

Many respected foundations in support of the arts have pledged support by offering funding and additional art education programs. The Americans for the Art Foundation will be donating $10,000 to 10 schools in the selected states for the duration of 3 years; California, Arizona, Arkansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Wyoming. This is only one of the many supporters who will be contributing.

To learn more about the different foundations that will be joining the efforts to further art education for our future generations, check out the latest news on the issue here.

Blood Painted Art

Artist Piotr Uklański has gotten some widespread attention with his latest contemporary artwork collection which is completely comprised of blood painted canvas.  All of Piotr’s latest paintings are painted with blood; yes real blood and some ink where necessary.

In an effort to find what the artist called “more unique angles” for his work, he began working on a collection of blood painted canvas pieces almost seven years ago. In a recent interview with ArtNews the Artist said, “I’m sick of skulls that talk about death, and Karma Sutra woodcuts representing sex.” (Uklański, 2014)

Many of his pieces in the collection have yet to be seen, but they all follow suit with the rest; blood splatters and scenes completely painted in crimson shades of blood. The walls of Piotr’s studio are busied with various plastic-bagged printouts of “blood” paintings adorned by sticky notes recalling  the titles. The studio has been said to remind one of a crime scene investigation.

When Piotr was asked what gave him the idea for this collection, he said that an upcoming show he was to be featured at, The Dallas Contemporary, gave him the freedom to do whatever he preferred. He then began on his blood painted series.

He chose blood as a reaction to post-war works he’d noticed in art collections around Dallas, Texas. Specifically, Piotr noted that works by Rothko and Gutai, Artists with collections in the Dallas area, tried to sublimate the violence of World War II. The Artist said he wanted to “re-introduce some of the violence to the landscape”.(Uklański, 2014)

Piotr Uklański will have two shows at the Met, both running concurrent from March 16, 2015, through August 16, 2015.

The Artist was asked at the conclusion of an interview, what ideas he would like to leave with the visitors who viewed his paintings. To this he said, “That we all make the flowers grow.”

Piotr Uklański Art
The original interview and article by ArtNews on Piotr Uklański can be seen, here.

Privacy, Glass Houses, and Artistic Expressions

Zinc Building New York CityArt has always been perceived as being somewhat un-definable in nature. Art can be seen in just about everything in life depending on the person. Like beauty, art is also in the eyes of the beholder.

But what happens when one person looks at something as art and but then this art is not perceived the same way by others? Well, most would say this is a personal problem and for people to not look upon art that they find offensive, right? Well, when it comes to being unknowingly photographed in your home, things tend to get ugly and some feel it is a direct invasion of privacy.

In recent news, a couple living in New York City became enraged when they learned that a photographer, a famous one at that, had been photographing them while they were going about their daily routines in their home. The photographer, Arne Svenson, a  renowned fine-art photographer from California, did not see it this way and pictures of this couple ended up in his latest series called “The Neighbors”.

Up until this point this story would seem to be an open and shut case of who is right and who is very wrong in the situation. However, the courts did not see it this way when the couple sued Arne Svenson in 2013.

Interestingly enough, it is pertinent to point that the couple lived in a glass house. They lived in a real-life, glass home located in the Zinc Building in Tribeca. The interior of the home is clearly visible not only for the couple who sued the photographer, but also for the hundreds of other people who chose to live in the same glass box-like building.

The charges that were brought up against the photographer were dismissed not based on the fact that the couple lived with seemingly little cares for privacy, but because it is not illegal to look into peoples windows in New York City. The court also found that the work was protected as “artistic expression” under the First Amendment.

This is not the first outrage to come from people who felt that their privacy was invaded in the name of art. It has been growing at a rather fast pace in recent years. Some artists and privacy advocates say this is because we are living  the “death of privacy” era. This death of privacy is strongly supported by the rapid expansion and reach of growing technologies today.

Trevor Pagien photo of NSAAnother very interesting spin on surveillance art came from photographer, Trevor Paglen, who fancied himself a conspiracy theorist in years past. The photographer said he felt mixed emotions about the Snowden leaks that rocked the world. He said he had always been interested in “watching the watchers” and wanted to add faces to the secretive nameless we only hear about in the news.

He took it upon himself to illuminate them and “spy on the spies”. Paglen’s photographs depicted the activities of two major secret intelligence agencies and the NSA. The photographer later shared these images online as part of a series in the Creative Times Reports.

Opinions on the matter of surveillance art and privacy concerns are very dependent on each persons individual feelings on the matters of privacy. Many feel there is no wrong or right when it comes to one’s personal preferences on the matter as long as no laws are broken in the name of capturing art.