Alison Pollack’s preferred subjects are the tiny, inconspicuous organisms that are difficult to spot without a trained eye and microscope. The California-based photographer documents the minuscule fungi that spring from leaves and bits of bark with an extreme macro lens, exposing the rarely visible iridescent speckles, pockmarks, and feathered tissues that cover their fruiting bodies. “My goal is to reveal to people tiny mushrooms and slime molds that they might otherwise never see, or may never even have heard of,” she tells Colossal. “And also to reveal the beautiful intricate detail in these organisms.”
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Although her earlier images captured the fleshy fungi in spectacular detail, Pollack has spent the last two years getting even closer to her subjects—which are often less than a millimeter tall—by using a combination of a microscope and macro lens that magnify her findings up to 10 times their actual size. The resulting images document even the smallest features, like individual spores, the veiny web structure encasing them, and the distinct texture and color of each organism.
Find Pollack on Instagram to see what she spots next and to order prints of her photos. You also might enjoy this documentary about the vast underground network of mycelium that’s tied to all life on Earth.