Bevil Templeton-Smith’s photography pairs decades of technical expertise with a passion for finding unexpected beauty. His most recent work blurs the boundaries between science and art through photomicrography (photography using a microscope) to capture common substances in their most vibrant light.
During the pandemic, Templeton-Smith found more opportunities to experiment with the camera, leading to a fascination with placing everyday substances – artificial sweeteners, sugar, caffeine, paracetamol, vitamin C – underneath a microscope. He was captivated by the microscopic crystals’ striking shapes and colours, heralding a new direction for his photography.
Through a complex process of joining a 1970s Leitz Orthoplan microscope with a contemporary camera, he began taking high-resolution photos of carefully prepared slides. He selects a handful of images from thousands of photographs, which are only slightly sharpened and altered using software. “The challenge is finding the gems hiding in a tangle of shapes [within] wild landscapes of twisted colour”, he says.
Ultimately, Templeton-Smith’s meticulous eye and technical skill produce images that defy common perception. Household substances morph into otherworldly shapes and colours before our eyes, revealing the hidden layers of beauty surrounding us.