On the Farm, Under the Microscope
Microscopic images can tell us a lot about organisms too small to observe with the naked eye, but studying these organisms does not give us a true image of their form, as lenses and lighting can distort certain elements. Artist Carina Profir focuses on this alteration of specimen by emulating the mechanisms and process of the microscopy in her series On the Farm (2013).
The artist tackles the issue of altered image by photographing livestock, mimicking the microscopic ‘point-of-view’, and stitching together photographs to create an organic flow of multiple specimens. Livestock are very important to studies in microbiology. Most notably, in 1937, veterinarian Max Sterne created a vaccine for live spore anthrax among livestock, which greatly lowered the risk of humans inhaling the bacteria. The photo compositions of Profir are themselves a direct references to slides taken of the Bacillus anthracis microbe.
By seeing the cows and sheep in a new perspective, it alters our perception of depth and size. The artist herself states, that the work provides a “glimpse into scientific imaging and the expansive duality of scientific truth and fiction”. One can begin to wonder how true microscopic organisms might actually look, without the distortions provided by microscopes.