Bacteriography by Zachary Copfer

Microbiologist-cum-photographer Zachary Copfer uses bacteria like E.coli to create detailed artworks in petri dishes. He called his unique technique "bacteriography".

Leonardo da Vinci

To create the images Copfer uses either a petri dish coated with a living E. coli bacteria genetically modified to express GFP, or Serratia marcescens bacteria. A negative of the photo he wants to reproduce is placed on top of the plate and exposed to radiation, causing the bacteria to grow in strategic places and recreating a detailed image. Once the photo is replicated, the bacteriography work of art is coated in acrylic and resin to stop it degrading.

Charles Darwin

“As a former microbiologist recently turned visual artist, I seek to create work that is less of an intersection of art and science and more of a genuine fusion of the two.”

Pablo Picasso

“I believe that great beauty and poetry reside within the theories woven by scientists. And that it is through the unification of art and science that these treasures can be fully explored and made accessible to the world at large.”

Albert Einstein


“I have begun searching for ways to synthesize the seemingly dichotomous fields of science and art. I believe that the separation of art and science is a misconception shared by many who are unfamiliar with the simple elegance of scientific theories. For me the world of science has always been a beautiful poetic place, more artful than anyplace else I have ever known.”


His first series 'My Favorite Scientists', features the heads of famous world changing scientists, while his latest series 'Star Stuff' features a hanging universe of smaller petri dishes filled with glowing galaxy imagery.

Check his website:


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