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MicroSculpture Macro Photography By Levon Biss

Levon Biss uses a Digital SLR to take impressive macro photographs of insects, combining 8000 photos to produce one high resolution image.

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Levon Biss Mantis Fly

Levon Biss - Mantis Fly

Levon Biss has produced a number of extremely detailed macro photographs of a range of insects, which will be on display at the Museum of Natural History in Oxford, from 27 May to 30 October 2016.

Levon Biss uses a 36 megapixel Nikon D810, and each image is made up of around 8-10,000 individual photographs, using a 10x microscope objective attached via a 200mm prime lens, and the images are then stacked together to form one image. The website lets you view the insects, and zoom in to see incredible levels of detail.

Microsculpture from Levon Biss on Vimeo.

From Oxford University Museum of Natural History:


Large-scale photographic exhibition reveals hidden beauty of insects at Oxford University Museum of Natural History Microsculpture 


The Insect Portraiture of Levon Biss

The beautiful, surprising, and often outright bizzare microscopic form of insects is presented in breathtaking clarity in a new exhibition by British photographer Levon Biss at the Museum of Natural History in Oxford. Created as part of the Museum’s Visions of Nature year in 2016, Microsculpture shows specimens from the collection like never before, in large-format and exquisitely-lit detail.

On show in the main court, the largest of Microsculpture’s photographic prints measure up to three metres across and surround the visitor. Seen alongside the tiny insect specimens themselves, this huge transformation of scale offers a unique viewing experience. 


Levon Biss - Jewel Longhorn BeetleLevon Biss - Jewel Longhorn Beetle

The specimens on show have been carefully selected by Dr James Hogan, an entomologist in the Museum’s Life Collections, to reveal the array of sculptural forms visible in insects at the microscopic level. Visitors can view the intricate shapes, colours and microsculpture of the creatures up close in the pin-sharp photographs, before stepping back to take in the beauty of the insect as a whole.

Each picture in Microsculpture is created from around 8,000 individual photographs. Segments of the specimen are lit and photographed separately, ‘stacked’ to maintain sharp focus throughout, then combined into a single high-resolution file.

“I photograph the insect in approximately 30 different sections, depending on the size of the specimen. Each section is lit differently with strobe lights to bring out the micro-sculptural beauty of that particular section of the body. For example, I will light and shoot just one antenna, then I will move on to the eye and the lighting set up will change entirely to suit the texture and contours of that part of the body. This process continues until I have covered the whole surface area of the insect.” – Levon Biss

Combining art with science, the exhibition also provides information about each creature in the show, where possible discussing the evolutionary adaptations that have given rise to its particular microsculpture form.

“It’s thought that microscopic structures alter the properties of an insect’s surface in different ways, reflecting sunlight, shedding water, or trapping air. The evolutionary process of natural selection should account for all this wonderful diversity of microstructures, but for many species their specific adaptive function is still unknown. By observing insects in the wild, studying museum collections, and developing new imaging techniques we will surely learn more about these fascinating creatures and close the gaps in our current understanding.” – Dr James Hogan, Oxford University Museum of Natural History

To see zoomable images from the Microsculpture show, visit

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andybebbs 14 643 1 England
25 Apr 2016 2:10PM
wow amazing pictures
Gaucho 20 2.8k 2 United Kingdom
25 Apr 2016 2:39PM
Stunning work. I've heard of patience but this is ridiculous!

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