If you are even the slightest bit germaphobic, you may want to skip this article…

A Photograph of the Andromeda Galaxy Eaten by Bacteria Found on an ATM
A Photograph of the Andromeda Galaxy Eaten by Bacteria Found on an ATM

I once watched a video in my middle school science class about the billions of microorganisms living on and around us; I have never been the same. I’ve willed myself to forget the fact that the world is a breeding ground of germs and bacteria, otherwise my brain might explode.

Cosmos is a photo series by photographer Marcus DeSieno, where he swabs bacteria from locations “both ubiquitous and exotic,” such as hotel hot tubs, ATMs, restaurants and human orifices, and then breeds them on the photographic film. Taken from NASA archives, the original images are converted into film slides. He  then spreads the bacteria onto the slide and lets the little creatures breed, eating away at the emulsion and film.

As the bacteria grow and multiply, they interact with the film, altering it, stripping away color layers, and slowly disintegrating the archaic media into an unpredictable abstraction of color and texture.

The final step is scanning the film, which in effect kills the bacterial playground in the process. A complete circle of creation and destruction, a process, Marcus says, that is “tied to the very fabric of existence itself.


A Photograph of the Little Dumbbell Nebula Eaten by Bacteria Found on My Gym’s 20-Pound Dumbbells
A Photograph of a Barred Lenticular Galaxy Eaten by Bacteria Found in My Belly Button
A Photograph of the Planet Venus Eaten by Bacteria Found Inside of a Vagina

Perhaps it was his childhood phobia of germs and other microscopic creatures that caused Marcus’ fascination with bacteria and parasites (see our article featuring his tin type parasites here), and as he finds various strains of bacteria to experiment with, he is confronting his fears head on…and destroying them. Literally.

Marcus tells Feature Shoot that, “the project is a means of gaining control, an exercise done in part to assuage the dread and feelings of remoteness that come with the knowledge of the vastness of the universe.

A Photograph of a Hydrogen Gas Cloud Eaten by Bacteria Found on a Gas Station Pump
A Photograph of a Star Cluster Eaten by Bacteria Found on My iPhone’s Screen
A Photograph of the Whirlpool Galaxy Eaten by Bacteria Found in a Motel’s Heart-Shaped Hot Tub


A Photograph of the Pleiades Star Cluster Eaten by Bacteria Found on a Public Bathroom’s Door Handle

Marcus’ images are both beautiful and mesmerizing in its abstract colors and swirls, but disturbing at the same time, knowing that the images created were from the work of the unseen creatures around us.

To see more of Marcus’ work, check out his website here.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go sanitize everything with anti-bacterial soap.

CREDITS : Photographs by Marcus DeSieno have been used with permission for SLR Lounge. Do not copy, modify or re-post this article or images without express permission from SLR Lounge and the artist.

[Via Laughing Squid]