ConceptOceaniaAbstract images; Photomicrography by Mike Dingley

For many years I have taken photographs of family, friends, holidays etc. as many of us do and this was the norm whilst I was raising a family and working at a full time job.

For many years I have taken photographs of family, friends, holidays etc. as many of us do and this was the norm whilst I was raising a family and working at a full time job.

When the pressure of making a good life eased Iwas able tostudy, as a hobby, freshwater microscopic plants that inhabit the inland freshwater ponds and lakes in Australia and this necessitated me to use high powered microscopes toobserve and draw these special plants. However, to compliment the drawings I used film cameras mounted on to my microscopes and produced thousands of black and white and colour transparency photomicrographs of these fascinating plants.

As I became more aware of other ‘photogenic’ objects when I looked down into the microscopic world I graduated towards these ‘other objects’. It wasn’t a conscious effort on my part; it just evolved until I realised that I could use microscopes to my artistic advantage. My first solo exhibition in 2008 was a result of my photomicrographic efforts and illustrated what appeared to be views of outer space. It was titled “Luminous Spacescapes.” The resulting  images were derived from crystals of a common household product. I work to the adage that if I like something I photograph it. When I work with a new microscopic object I do not normally start out with a theme in mind but sometimes a theme starts to unfold and I make this a priority until I have exhausted all possibilities. I then move on to look for other ideas. In many cases selecting different microscope specimens enables me to find a myriad of options.

Due to my love of art I have progressed from this style and am pursuing an artistic path to a more subjective and expressive form of photography based on imagined vision.I have moved on from using film and now use digital cameras in order to produce my art-oriented works. Although I mainly produce images using a 35mm-equivalent digital camera and a 100mmmacro and/or a wide anglelens I occasionally use microscopes to help me see and record microscopic views of the world and my love for microscopes therefore enables me to pursue bothphotomicrographic and normal/macro images so I have the best of 2 worlds.

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My images require very little digital manipulation and I mostly use the healing brush tool as I find that most of the old microscope slides that I use contain an enormous amount of dust particles and I clean them to make the composition more pleasing to the eye. The curves tool is the next most common tool that I use followed by the sharpening tool. The camera that I use to make the photomicrographs saves my images in TIFF but when I am out and about using my trusty SLR camera I always shoot RAW and perform some enhancements before opening and saving as a TIFF.

My most recent exhibition titled “Rust and Stone” (September/October 2013) started when I was Inspired by the weathering of surfaces, metal and stone, in which I found expressiveand imagined landscapes in found objects. I would encourage everyone to observemore closely the mundane, ordinary and workaday objects and images that we take for granted and to search for the beauty and simplicity that lies within. By delving into theearthly decomposition of matter I discover ‘other wordly’ landscapes and images which drawthe imagination into a different dimension and frees the mind into discovering hiddenparadigms and emotions. At this point all becomes possible as time stands still andimagination responds to the imagery. [Official Website]

Whether I am photographing tiny objects using a microscope or out in the real world I work with a mimesis by imitating the real world, by recreating instances of events or portraying objects found in nature.

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One comment

  • Graham

    Sep 19, 2013 at 10:22

    Fantastic. If you didn’t know they were photographs you would assume paintings. Do people still dispute photography as an art form?

Comments are closed.

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