Mindblowing Macro Photography from The Micro-Cosmos, by Blepharopsis – with Exclusive Interview

For today’s showcase we have a very special and honorable guest: Igor Siwanowicz, a.k.a. Blepharopsis. He is an absolutely amazing photographer and has a life-loving spirit. This post will present 50 of the best photographs shot by him, along with an exclusive interview that he kindly honored us with and where he reveals not only some secrets about the beautiful art of photography, but also a short, interesting and inspiring biography. His photos are absolute amazing and we will mix some of them into the interview… Answers continue below the photo… Let’s get started!
Q: Hello and welcome to the Pxleyes community. Please tell us a few words about who Blepharopis is.
A: I was born in Krakow, Poland, in 1976, to a pair of biologists – I suppose it was the exposure to all the biology textbooks that shaped my interests early in life. Now when I think of it, my parents might have reinforced my tastes and interests through some reword system; I just hope it wasn’t intentional… So much for the freedom of choice. Certain amount of the fascination in natural sciences might be encoded in the genes, and that was definitely passed on me from my parents, along with some artistic skills that just pop up in my family generation after generation.

Horned “Horned”

Education-wise, I did my masters in biotechnology in Krakow and Aarhus, Denmark, followed by PhD in structural biochemistry in Germany. I “solved” some “structures” of certain proteins using x-ray crystallography – that involved observing matter at atomic-scale resolution. That’s wicked-cool when you think about it. After two years of post-doctoral studies, out of frustration of dealing with the same problems and techniques over and over again, I took one year hiatus from science. During this year I was posing as a travelling freelance nature photographer kind of person. I conned some people into organizing my photography exhibitions, and some others into publishing two books. They totally bought it! That bestowed on me a deeply satisfactory feeling of accomplishment. Oh yea, and I’ve also travelled to Indonesia and Papua, and tried my hand at photojournalism. After this year I re-emerged on the scientific scene, this time as a lowly technical assistant in behavioural genetics at the Max-Planck Institute for Neurobiology in Munich, where I work today.

Posing - Youre Doing It Ok “Posing – You’re Doing It Ok”

“Blepharopsis” is a genus of a praying mantis; the name has a Greek origin: blepharon means “eyelid” and opsis, if I’m not mistaken, – “face”. So you see, it doesn’t make much sense at all! I don’t exactly remember my motivation for using it as a nick when I joined deviantART community, honestly, what was I thinking? Regardless, I’ll tell you who Blepharopsis is. Blepharopsis is a mad as a ferret, arrogant scientist roaming the Chernobyl ground zero area with a portable electron microscope in search of deformed chromosomal mutant disasters.

Keychain Monster Keychain Monster

To take their mug shots, and deliver them to you in all their stomach-turning glory. At least that was my alter ego created for the needs of deviantART. But, being a lazy-ass procrastinator, I didn’t nurture it and my alter-ego slowly withered to become a meek nerd, good at photography though. Some of that arrogance remained too, you can probably notice that.

Brahmaea Hearseyi “Brahmaea Hearseyi”

Q: When did you discover your passion and talent for photography and what does this type of art mean to you?
A: I grew up surrounded by illustrated biology/zoology textbooks, and that was my very first contact with nature photography. But it wasn’t until around spring 2003 when I bought my very first digital SLR camera, Canon 10D, along with a macro lens and a bunch of accessories that I found myself on the supply side of photography. Full disclosure – doing something creative just keeps me (relatively) sane, it’s a sort of occupational therapy, a way to cope with the blues. I think I am slightly bipolar (as in manic-depressive), far from raving mad but still having those seasonal swings of mood and warped self-perception. Taking photos, among other things, gives me satisfaction and keeps my mind off of obsessing too much. I use my accomplishments to re-build my self-esteem and move a small step towards self-actualisation. Surprisingly, the feedback I’m receiving shows that my work opens people’s eyes on the aspects of our world they were not aware of, and that makes me sort of a public relations representative in service of creepy-crawlies. I’m far from making it my mission though.
Moultin “Moultin’”
Q: You chose to show the world a different perspective of living beings. Any special reason behind shooting insects?
A: I’m sure that landscape, bird and human models photographers are never asked to explain their choice of subject matter. In other words, taking pictures of, say, boobies doesn’t require elucidation. I do like taking portraits of small animals from their perspective. They are foreign, otherworldly looking creatures – the closer you get to them, the stronger the effect. See, insects have those totally alien, Gigeresque forms that I find somehow fascinating.

Fiddler on the Root “Fiddler on the Root”

I have to confess that I’m a bit deprived in my thinking – I take weird and bizarre as positive adjectives in creative medium. My favourite models – praying mantids and other insects, reptiles, amphibians – usually meet fit the bill. Oh well – I think mantids are totally slick and sexy, and have style. That’s how (a bit) deprived I am…

Walk This Way “Walk This Way”
Q: Do you have any art projects going on at the moment?
A: At this very moment I’m into a new hobby – few months ago I started to design and make jewelery. For now I’m using brass as my material, but will soon progress to silver. Another project that keeps me busy right now is description of visual system and neuro-anatomy of jumping spiders. I’m using a fancy optical system called scanning laser fluorescent microscope; it’s great to have a job that gives you an acces to a toy worth 100 K! The results so far are both visually captivating and informative, kid of an overlap of art and science.

Dragon Love “Dragon Love”

I hope I’ll manage to publish this stuff too, even if that means sending it to Proceedings of National Academy of Bullshit… I’m thinking – and collecting materials, but nothing more – about publishing a book devoted entirely to praying mantids, their place in tribal cultures and folk believes, art, a few interesting bits about their biology. I’d need lots more motivation than I’m capable to generate to realize it though.

Mostly Clear “Mostly Clear”

Q: Are there any fields in art that present a particular interest to you?
A: I always keep an eye out for strangely familiar fractal artworks. It’s a sort of art that quite well approximates states of consciousness eccessible upon ingestion of certain serotonine agonist of tryptamine nature. I won’t elaborate on that though. I enjoy most kinds of art, naturally.

Proud to be Horny “Proud to be Horny”

Q: Do you use any image editing software after the shooting sessions? If so, what is that?
A: I shoot in RAW format, so the first step is to convert the files to TIFs, and tweak exposure and contrasts in the process. I’m using Lightroom and Photoshop; I don’t do too much editing though.

Fangs “Fangs”

Q: What do you think that makes a photography “pop”?
A: It’s probably a combination of a contrast, composition and color that taps in just the right neurons to trigger the response of experiencing beauty/aesthetics. It’s really tough to say. I certainly have yet to figure out the principle.

Insert Food Here “Insert Food Here”

Q: Any advice you’d like to give to young talents starting out in photography?
A: That question made me feel suddently old… Well, if they are “talents” they certainly don’t need my advice – digital camera gives you an immediate feedback; you can figure out the settings yourself in no time. However, let me pop my knuckles and put my Photography Guru hat on. I’ll start with a general purpose if a bit pompous slogan: if you think it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well. Start with an image in your head and work your way towards it. Improvise, modify and permutate along the way. Pay respect to your “models” and don’t expect much of a performance from them – animals are notoriously incorrigible uncooperative. Be patient, and never, ever try any dirty tricks that suppose to prevent them from moving and scurrying away.

Baby Chameleon “Baby Chameleon”

It won’t hurt to educate yourself a bit as to animal’s biology and behavior – you will have a shade of idea what to expect from it, like for instance if it’s able to strike a spectacular threatening pose. And now for some technical tips for dSLR users: take care to stabilize your camera – use a sturdy tripod, remote shutter relese and mirror lockup mode.
Go-Go Twist “Go-Go Twist”

Never close the aperture all the way down, stopping at f/16 works for me fine; any higher than that and the blur resulting from diffraction on the pinhole starts to be a serious issue. Then there is lighting, probably the most important factor to consider. When using a flashgun, disperse the light – use diffusers, such as BigBounce or UltraSoft from Lumiquest. Aaaand good luck!

Rosette – Nosed Chameleon

Rosette - Nosed Chameleon

Diabolic-a

Diabolic-a

Visitor

Visitor

Mandibles of Doom

Mandibles of Doom

I Suck…

I Suck...

It’s just a Jump to the Left

It is just a Jump to the Left

Dunce

Dunce

Morphs

Morphs

Peekaboo

Peekaboo

Bejeweled

Bejeweled

Whipworm

Whipworm

Mr Green vs. Mr Brown

Mr Green vs. Mr Brown

Plushie

Plushie

Emperor Caterpillar

Emperor Caterpillar

Use the Force

Use the Force

Ready to Jump U

Ready to Jump U

End of the Line

End of the Line

Dragonbear

Dragonbear

Ta-Daa

Ta-Daa

Homeowner

Homeowner

Unwound

Unwound

2 Mantids 1 Shot

2 Mantids 1 Shot

Ciliatus

Ciliatus

Silver Spectre

Silver Spectre

Pinchy the Crayfish

Pinchy the Crayfish

I’ll Suck Your Soul…

I will Suck Your Soul...

Flirty Lary

Flirty Lary

Wahlbergii

Wahlbergii

Ugly Hairy Bitch

Ugly Hairy Bitch

Solpugid

Solpugid

Bloodsport

Bloodsport

Scolopendra Cingulata

Scolopendra Cingulata

Blondi

Blondi

Beach-Crawler

Beach-Crawler

Wide Embrace

Wide Embrace

It Came from Beneath the Pond

It Came from Beneath the Pond

Author:

Giulia is a 25 year old girl from Romania. She runs a blog dedicated to cute animals on furrytalk.com. She's also an amateur photographer and has a passion for Photoshop.

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60 Responses:

  1. Craig says:

    Simply amazing!

    ( 2 years and 559 days ago )
  2. Joe Hackman says:

    Incredible images, very cool!

    ( 2 years and 559 days ago )
  3. Ryan says:

    Awesome! Never new bugs were so beautiful.

    ( 2 years and 559 days ago )
  4. jw says:

    my mind didn’t blow yet. did i miss something?

    ( 2 years and 558 days ago )
  5. chanyudh fongchol says:

    It’s well I’m amazing

    ( 2 years and 558 days ago )
  6. Daily Cash says:

    Very clear pictures with high megapixels

    ( 2 years and 558 days ago )
  7. steve ryan says:

    WOW……… :)

    ( 2 years and 558 days ago )
  8. emely says:

    i absolutely love these. you have amazing talent, and creative names!

    ( 2 years and 558 days ago )
  9. Julie Rorden says:

    I’m speechless!

    ( 2 years and 558 days ago )
  10. D.Prasanna says:

    Dear Giulia,

    All are so Nice and amazing. keep touch.

    ( 2 years and 558 days ago )
  11. Corporate Architects Delhi says:

    Awesome. Wonderful collection . Thanks for share.

    ( 2 years and 558 days ago )
  12. Charle says:

    MG! really really amazing stuff. At first I thought they were fake but no! Gj !

    ( 2 years and 558 days ago )
  13. Eric says:

    the caterpillars are way cooler then the moths/butterflies they turn into

    ( 2 years and 558 days ago )
  14. Mark says:

    thank you, very awesome

    ( 2 years and 558 days ago )
  15. Ryan says:

    Those pictures are awesome, and funny also though. lol

    ( 2 years and 558 days ago )
  16. sue says:

    These shots are amazing. some creatures a beautiful and some could be from a si fi movie.
    wicked

    ( 2 years and 558 days ago )
  17. Pierrick says:

    Impressive photographies! Igor is a macrophotography genius :-)

    ( 2 years and 558 days ago )
  18. Doris says:

    So Alien, So Amazing, The Clarity….Thank you for sharing a world we don’t get to see :-)

    ( 2 years and 558 days ago )
  19. dr don says:

    It makes me itch!

    ( 2 years and 558 days ago )
  20. Va,sodjar says:

    amazing.
    Great Pictures.
    Macro Photography …. such a great work.

    Heartiest congratulations to all the Photographers who have captured the pictures.

    congratulations to pxleyes.com also for such awesome collection.
    Posting from Country: India, State: Andhara Pradesh, District: Visakhapatnam, Works for: LIC

    ( 2 years and 557 days ago )
  21. Mr. Vamsidhar says:

    Great work.
    Amazing pictures.

    Great Macro Photography.
    Heartiest congratulations to all the photographers who have captured such amazing pictures.
    Heartiest congratulations to PXLEYES for such greatest collection.

    every picture is awesome.

    Posing from: Vamsidhar
    Country: India
    State: Andhra Pradesh
    District: Visakhapatnam
    Works for : Life Insurance Corporation of India

    ( 2 years and 557 days ago )
  22. Mimi says:

    Truly magnificent!
    My meager contribution… http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1538439754597&set=a.1538436514516.74558.1642991774

    ( 2 years and 557 days ago )
  23. psadmin says:

    Awesome i love the beaatles :P

    ( 2 years and 557 days ago )
  24. Hendrix says:

    Yes, you did miss something jw.

    You are an idiot.

    ( 2 years and 555 days ago )
  25. Graeme Melia says:

    What is the Ugly Hairy Bitch? It has 10 legs!

    ( 2 years and 555 days ago )
  26. cbomb says:

    Cool, but i would still stomp the shit out of some of them if i saw them in real life.

    ( 2 years and 555 days ago )
  27. Marcia says:

    Unbelievable. Fabulous photography. I have never seen anything like it.

    ( 2 years and 554 days ago )
  28. Mark says:

    Fantastic :-o
    Those Mantids have an engaging personality.
    What an impressive collection!

    ( 2 years and 554 days ago )
  29. Herman says:

    Thank you! Great start for my day!

    ( 2 years and 553 days ago )
  30. WaterDragon52 says:

    So, so very beautiful!! The critters are awe inspiring, but your talent and love for them even more so. Thank You for sharing.

    ( 2 years and 553 days ago )
  31. Guto Nunes says:

    Muito bacana, parabéns!

    Very good, wonderful!!!!

    ( 2 years and 553 days ago )
  32. Hélio says:

    No Word…Good Job!!!!!!!!!!!!

    ( 2 years and 552 days ago )
  33. Tacio Philip says:

    Wonderful job! I also love macrophotography (I live in Brazil), if you have some time: http://tacio.macrofotografia.com.br

    ( 2 years and 552 days ago )
  34. dr ahmad taharim says:

    Love your pics, Just started to be serious about photography

    ( 2 years and 552 days ago )
  35. Skrill says:

    “Proud to be Horny” is def my fav. Just forwarded to my father who is a zoologist.

    ( 2 years and 551 days ago )
  36. Junior de Oliveria says:

    unbelievable to see these images, and a wonderful taste phenomenal, congratulations.

    ( 2 years and 551 days ago )
  37. Joanne says:

    Thank you for sharing such great shots.

    ( 2 years and 551 days ago )
  38. Richal Azuarte says:

    Impresionante, maravilloso, todo un mundo desconocido para mi.
    Gracias, excelente trabajo con nombre nom plus ultra.
    Felicitaciones.

    ( 2 years and 551 days ago )
  39. hotscanner says:

    Rally fantastic photos. I’ve browsed through plenty of macro photography galleries and every time I do that I enjoy watching those miniature creatures a lot. A very nice gallery here. Keep up the good work! :)

    ( 2 years and 551 days ago )
  40. Dave Henniker says:

    The best macro photography I’ve ever seen. Very very impressive. Captures the beauty of nature and evolution.

    ( 2 years and 551 days ago )
  41. Elyse says:

    These are utterly fantastic!! I love the mantids!

    ( 2 years and 551 days ago )
  42. alisha says:

    Good Job… Intresting

    ( 2 years and 550 days ago )
  43. Jon says:

    Beautiful. I’ve often wondered where the Sci-Fi film industry came up with those wonderful creatures. The whole time, they were right in front of us.

    ( 2 years and 550 days ago )
  44. Hermitbiker says:

    …. these photographs have got to be the best I’ve ever seen…. so far….. mind-blowing is an understatement !!

    ( 2 years and 549 days ago )
  45. JambaziHatari says:

    These are simply the best I have ever seen. Amazing. Thanks for sharing.

    ( 2 years and 547 days ago )
  46. chris says:

    what a wonderful set of macro images, outstanding images!

    ( 2 years and 547 days ago )
  47. Digital Field Professor Goldstein says:

    Great Photos! The general info. was nice, but I would have liked to see some of the setups, exposures of each image and an equipment list. it would have been nice to get the imagery in their natural settings instead of taking them out of their environment for studio shots.

    ( 2 years and 544 days ago )
  48. Usman says:

    WOW! Macro marvels

    ( 2 years and 540 days ago )
  49. David Hardwick Photography says:

    Brilliant Photographs. Some odd looking animals. Fantastic colours.

    ( 2 years and 539 days ago )
  50. Angie says:

    Stunning photos of amazing creatures!
    These insects look beautiful, instead of creepy, that’s awesome!

    ( 2 years and 539 days ago )
  51. Hayley says:

    The baby chameleons are adorable. Love all the pics. :)

    ( 2 years and 533 days ago )
  52. techwench says:

    great job fantastic photography liked all pics
    thanks!!!
    ……

    ( 2 years and 515 days ago )
  53. saleema says:

    These photos are amazing! What a wonderful gift it is to be able to get a glimpse of these little ones’ perspective! Oh, I wonder what the world looks like through compound eyes. :-) Thanks so much for sharing these fantastic photos!
    I love what you wrote about respecting our models: “Be patient, and never, ever try any dirty tricks that suppose to prevent them from moving and scurrying away.” Well put…YES! Respect, respect, respect… and love too. How can one not feel awe when looking at these amazing creatures?
    Thanks for bringing some of our more elusive friends out into the open for us humans to appreciate. Well done!

    ( 2 years and 514 days ago )
  54. Santosh says:

    Amazing,It take alot of creativity and persistence alot of click to get these photos right.Superb!!

    ( 2 years and 505 days ago )
  55. Danny Davies says:

    Dear Igor.
    I have never seen photographs like the way you take, it’s mind blowing and so much detail. I like doing macro photography, but after what I have seen of your work, it makes looking at my photo’s as if they were photographed by a three year old with a box brownie camera. I now have to rethink the way of bettering myself, with the help of such inspirational people like yourself Igor.
    You are right about digital photography, I was amazed of what I could see on my monitor, and being able to take as many shots of a single subject, unlike that of film which would be un-affordable by me.

    ( 2 years and 284 days ago )
  56. Kenneth D Aston Jr says:

    Wow great photography!

    ( 2 years and 226 days ago )
  57. Hoomehr says:

    I can’t say anything except wow!!!

    ( 2 years and 49 days ago )
  58. Vik says:

    Nice work!

    ( 1 year and 210 days ago )
  59. Angie says:

    Amazing interview. Thanks so much!

    ( 1 year and 149 days ago )
  60. nabeel butt says:

    amazing wow

    ( 1 year and 96 days ago )

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