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Photo via Marcus DeSieno photography
Photo via Marcus DeSieno photography

How’s this for taking everyday gross stuff and turning it into art? One photographer has done just that with his Cosmos series, or what happens when “invisible microscopic bacteria are grown onto photographic film of appropriated images from the far reaches of outer space.”

Photographer Marcus DeSieno carries swabs with him, sampling some of life’s everyday spots where bacteria may thrive, including iPhones, toilet seats, door handles — even his belly button — to make the stunning photographs. As the bacteria spreads and morphs on the film of different shots from space, it creates these wonderful scenes, some looking like fireworks, coral reef systems and even butterflies.

“From infinitesimally small microscopic life to the near infinite number of galaxies and stars, the incomprehensible size and spectrum of the universe defies human logic and understanding. The term ‘Cosmos’ is defined as ‘the universe understood as an ordered system.’ But how can we make sense of, and create a system of logic for, a field too vast for us to comprehend?” DeSieno writes on his website. “This body of work probes the immense scale of the universe as the microscopic and macrocosmic coalesce into an art object.”

With delightful descriptions like “Photograph of the Whirlpool Galaxy Eaten by Bacteria Found in a Motel’s Heart-Shaped Hot Tub” and “Photograph of a Star Cluster Eaten by Bacteria Found in My Saliva,” flipping through this series is a fun look at how science can inspire and make art.

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