Humans have always marveled at that which cannot be seen by the naked eye. For centuries, life on the cellular level has left people surprised and perplexed by its beauty and complexity.
This wonderland of cells which contain literally everything — disease, our environment, health, our food supply — can only be viewed through a high-powered microscope. But since many folks don’t necessarily have access to a microscope that is capable of viewing the smallest organisms on Earth, they have probably never seen anything like what is featured in the slideshow above.
If you don’t already know what diatoms are, or what they happen to look like, wonder no more. Thanks to Klaus Kemp, who has dedicated his life to the study and perfection of the Victorian art of diatom arrangements, we are granted a brief glimpse into life on the microscopic level.
Diatoms are single-cell algae encased in gem-like shells, and they are the among the tiniest life forms in existence, of which there are nearly 100,000 different species.
Kemp somehow manages to find, capture, clean, organize and arrange these cells into an artistic display unlike anything we’ve ever seen. We’re talking about designs that are so small that they have to be measured in microns. Microns! Most of his work could fit on the head of a nail.
It’s a fascinating combination of art and science. His work is sought by collectors around the world, as they are the most complex form of diatom arrangements compiled today.
Recently, filmmaker Matthew Killip met up with Kemp to learn more about his arduous process and produced this short film called The Diatomist. It’s worth a watch if you’re as much of a science nerd as we are.
The universe is full of beautiful treasures; all you have to do is look a little closer to see them.