You Have Not Seen Macro Photography Until You Have Seen This

Does Levon Biss ring a bell? Of course not. Another fantastic photographer most people haven’t heard of yet. Levon Biss mainly does sports, his clients are big names for advertising and editorial, such as Adidas, Puma, Carlsberg, New York Times, FHM, Time, and so on. But then, to have something to work on when he comes back home from another of his many assignments, he got into macro photography. And I mean micro macro photography. Larger-than-life macro photography.

Jewel Longhorned Beetle | Levon Biss /
Jewel Longhorned Beetle | Levon Biss /

Levon Biss is exhibiting at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. The name of his collection? “The Insect Portraits of Levon Biss” — or in short: Microsculpture.

Enjoy the trailer:

There is nothing spontaneous about Levon Biss’ photography. Each and every detail is most carefully planned. In an interview he said, asked what’s his idea of a perfect photograph:

A very complex shoot that goes smoothly. Something that is technically and logistically challenging. Having the picture in your head an being able to make it come to life exactly as you imagined.

The Insect Portraits of Levon Biss exhibition runs from May 27 to October 30, 2016, at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History.

Orchard Cuckoo Bee | Levon Biss /
Orchard Cuckoo Bee | Levon Biss /

  • They look like dead insects to me, perhaps I’m in the minority group, but I don’t like them.

  • Technically most outstanding work. Topic per se is debatable, but just imagine shooting those buggers alive all-crawling… Levon’s photos certainly show a level of detail that is real and hidden at the same time, that’s where I see the value of his project.

  • I’d say that it’s “just” what still life should be, but showing loads of details instead of “soul”. To me they are like insects IDcard photos, and they leave me quite cold. On the other hand I admire those that manage to capture their beauty (and details) in their environment and alive, showing photographic skills and a lot of patience.
    Photographic gear will always be better, allowing us to capture the most hidden detail in everything: I think that if we only try to aim at taking the most detailed picture we will never be happy nor satisfied: it’s a neverending race against technology.
    Back to the topic: just a couple of days ago I found a dead fly on my desk: I set up the lightbox and took a 1:1 macro with the em5 mk2 hi res mode.
    I could fill the 24 inches monitor with one of its eyes without seeing any artifacts.
    But the picture was to me just some kind of voyeurism.
    Deleted in 5 minutes.
    (I wonder what a Nanoah 5x lens could do with the hi res mode though.. )

  • these images are the best combination of documentation and art!

    They show the perfect beauty of the nature, that can not be seen in a shot of a living moving insect with low macro DOF.
    They have been dead already and in this stadium most insect are at the end of there live and finished the reproduction more or less.

    BTW: did you never kill a mosquito in your bedroom? I did, but I try to catch flies and spiders and bring them out.
    And if I go further: what meat do you eat?

    The technical perfection of these images is superior of everything, I have seen. I tried focus staking with up to 40 images, but focus staking AND stitching thousands is impressive and real work.

  • Hi Dierk, I think you misunderstood my words.
    I’m not against the fact that these insects are dead.
    I simply stated my subjective opinion that they do look dead. Or “soulless”. Is it simply because of the black background? Perhaps.
    With no doubt stitching thousand of photos is a pain, but it’s also true that technology allows to do it quite easier today.
    Try to do a macro of a living spider, transforming also the dew drops on its web in a swirl of gorgeous bokeh: I would appreciate it much more, but again it’s my subjective opinion. And also this latter spider will showthe beauty of nature: after all it’s what macro photography does, showing the hidden macro beauty.
    I think you guys took my post as if it was some kind of reaction against dead insects.
    Or if I had no respect for someone else work.
    Simply these photose does not tickle my boxes, even though I usually like macro photography.
    Next time I’ll keep my thought for myself. :)

  • Nooooo! Share your thoughts, Marco. Both your’s and Dierk’s thoughts are worth contemplating.

  • I am sorry, if I misunderstood your comment.

    We are talking about complete different photography, you mean the pure nature photograph and these images are more pure art (for me). If you go to his site and zoom into the images, you will be impressed of all the patterns and structures mother nature “invented” for these little creatures. I would really like to see those prints.

    It is a good chance to think about nature in general … and what we are doing to the nature of our earth.