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The Creative Talents of Bacteria

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What happens when bacteria are allowed to grow on the surface of film? Photographer Caleb Charland was interested in relinquishing the control of image making to a natural process. He created solid fields of color on the film, which he then coated with agar – a gelatinous nutrient substance where bacteria can grow. Slowly, the bacteria ate their way through the layer of agar, and then feasted on the film’s emulsion. The series “Biographs” shows the result.

Charland: “I was amazed to see what the bacteria were doing. The bacterial growth patterns were re-depositing the image particles, revealing a life cycle traced in silver. What began as a photograph had become a biography, a trace of life, an index of existence.”

Check out the complete series on his website.

Source: Discover Magazine

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