Photographer accidentally crushes the world’s smallest sculptures

by Gannon Burgett

posted Sunday, March 22, 2015 at 2:55 PM EDT


Author's note: There are images of (nano-sized) sculptures depicting nude female form in this article

Stuff happens. No matter how careful we are, sometimes things go wrong. A lab technician and photographer of Jonty Hurwitz’s 'nano-paintings' learned this the hard way when they accidentally crushed several of Hurwitz’s microscopic sculptures, including Hurwitz's most notable one, ‘Trust.’ 

Hurwitz, a British-based sculptor, has quite literally carved a niche, creating sculptures of the human form that are so small they are often invisible to the human eye and are capable of standing on a single strand of human hair.


To document these nano-sculptures, Hurwitz has lab technicians photograph the 100-micron-tall sculptures with electron microscopes. Unfortunately, one of these photoshoots went terribly wrong when the photographer went to adjust his microscopic subject matter and could no longer locate several of Hurwitz's sculptures that depicted a human forms in various positions.

As told by Hurwitz to Independent, ‘Eventually I noticed there was a fingerprint exactly where the sculpture used to be and I was like ‘Man, you have just destroyed one of the smallest art pieces ever made’. I slightly freaked out.’

‘Slightly freaked out’ might be a little bit of an understatement though. In a video posted to Hurwitz’s YouTube channel, he explains the story behind ‘Trust’ and his other nano-sculptures. About fifteen-and-a-half minutes in, he tells the story of how the sculptures were crushed. During the retelling of the story it’s easy to see he’s (still) physically irritated, which is accentuated by a few obscenities.

Despite the accident, Hurwitz walked away from the situation with a moderately positive outlook. According to him, the entire story and incident behind 'Trust' tells its own, ironic tale of human error.

Just remember. Next time you make a mistake, at least you didn’t destroy seven of the smallest sculptures to exist in the world.

Image credits: Screenshots from The Story of Trust