Science, just another lens in my camera bag / by Zachary Copfer

In the December 2011 issue of Scientific American there is a feature on a microphotography photo contest. The SA website has a stunning slideshow of the winning images from the contest. The article discusses how microphotography is an offshoot of science where  amateurs and professionals alike can produce stellar results. What saddens me is that many of the individuals producing these images are rarely interested in the science or theoretical implications of what they are photographing. They are merely finding something that looks cool under the scope and trying to create a beautiful image. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean to demean what these artists are doing. However, I am disconcerted with the growing trend of referring to this type of work as scientific art. The melding of science and art has become a trendy buzz phrase that is all to often misused. Work such as that featured in this slideshow doesn’t explore the science at all. They are simply photographers using science as another lens for their cameras. Artists like these help me to realize what I want my work to do. I wish to create work that truly explores the art present in the ideas of science. I don’t want to use science as a way to merely create beautiful representations of what the eye alone cannot see. I am working to use science and art to redefine the viewer’s perspective on the beauty that lies within what the mind can see.