The Invisible Art of Bacteria


“Beneath our superficial differences we are all of us walking communities of bacteria. The world shimmers, a pointillist landscape made of tiny living beings.” – Lynn Margulis, American Biologist

There is a popular misconception, these days more than ever, that bacteria are enemies to be defeated. While that is true for certain bacteria in certain circumstances, they generally play a crucial and beneficial role in our daily lives as a fundamental contributor to the plant and animal kingdoms. Without bacteria, life would be a lot worse as this Washington Post article attests.

It’s a subject close to the heart of Stefania Rizzelli, an Italian biologist working in an experimental laboratory in Modena, who is on a mission to encourage the re-evaluation of these micro-organisms. Photographing bacteria and mould found in food products and grown in a Petri dish, she reveals their surprising variety and immense beauty – microcosms of color, texture and activity. They prompt the viewer to ponder their importance, as well as the enormous complexity of the world that exists outside of our visible range.

Here she shares some of those images, and tells us a little more about the project, her process, and her philosophy in uncovering the invisible art of bacteria…

Images and story courtesy of Stefania Rizzelli.

www.artofbacteria.it and Instagram: @artofbacteria_rizzellistefania