Artist's Statement

Neil Buckland

Cosmic Microscapes features a collection of fine art prints of various meteorites from the Moon, Mars, and asteroid belt. Prints are archival cotton rag mounted to wood panel. Sizes range from 30x40 inches up to 7ft by 12ft. I began tinkering with photography at the age of 10. I fell in love with how something that appears quite ordinary to the naked eye can be truly extraordinary when seen through a lens. I became utterly fascinated with the theory and science of photography, optical engineering, technology as a medium for art. Over the past 27 years, though I've explored a wide range of photographic subject matter and application, my technical fascination has informed a consistent theme in all of my work, an almost obsessive pursuit of depth and detail. Cosmic Microscapes is a project that marries science and art in a most extreme way. For eons, humans have peered into the cosmos wondering what’s up there. Occasionally, pieces of the Moon, Mars, and asteroids land on Earth. These meteorites are sliced tissue-paper thin and mounted to glass slides for scientific study under microscope. Through a collaboration with Dr. Tony Irving, a geochemical scientist and meteoriticist at the University of Washington, I have photographed some of the world’s rarest meteorite thin sections. The technical aspects of this process were quite ambitious. Standard macro photography equipment is inadequate. I engineered a specialized microscope camera system to capture these 1x2 centimeter specimens under cross polarized light in 1mm and 2mm segments. As many 500 photo tiles are seamlessly stitched together to produce a staggeringly high resolution image file. In some cases, this file can then be printed up to 30 feet wide, 40 thousand times original size, without any pixilation. These enormously detailed prints reveal unimaginable beauty invisible to the naked eye.