“Bacteriography” makes photos from living bacteria (VIDEO)
posted Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 2:45 PM EDT
Scientist and photographer Zachary Copfer has created a unique set of portraits for the Big Bang Fair in the UK—each one is "printed" using bacteria harvested from his subjects. Dubbing the process "bacteriography", the method may sound bizarre, but it's actually very closely linked to the process of a traditional darkroom enlargement.
Copfer explains the process fully in the video below. Essentially, he grows a culture of bacteria that he harvests from his subjects. He then takes an image of the person, and creates a halftone, black and white version, which he prints on a transparency. The bacteria is then placed on a large petri dish, the image is loaded on top, and he blasts it with radiation. The radiation kills off the bacteria—except where it's protected by the shadow of the print above it. Those bits instead grow normally, creating dark red blooms of color.
After the bacteria is nicely grown, he kills the lot off, and then preserves and protects the entire thing, rendering it as a static "print" of a photograph.
For the Big Bang Fair, Copfer has rendered photos of Stephen Fry and a number of other well known UK celebrities, all of whom gave him their own samples to use in the project.
Copfer has also recently started a Kickstarter for his work—and if you want an actual petri dish that he made, it'll set you back around $100.