Welcome to Exploring the Invisible. I’m a Liberal Scientist/Artist who’s work explores the deep connections of the natural world with humankind. Most of my work is often created in collaboration with Nature, so that it becomes a co-author in the processes, and from a deep understanding of the science that I use.  My goal is simple, to explore the inherent creativity of the natural world and to reveal its subtle, and usually hidden narratives, and above all to reveal its wonder. My hope is that my works will allow the interested observer to perceive biological phenomena that would otherwise be perpetually invisible, so that the hidden machinations of the natural world are brought to light. In many cases my work involves creative collaborations with microbes and bacteria, but I have also worked with larger lifeforms such as Caddisfly Larvae, Wasps, Snails Slugs, Ants, “intelligent” Slime Moulds, and Birds.

“A human being is part of the whole, called by us “universe,” limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest – a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a prison, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons close to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from our prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all humanity and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
Albert Einstein

92 thoughts on “About

  1. Hi there. I am looking for a hardback volume of micro shots similar to yours, perhaps extended to virus etc. I am interested in close ups becoming abstraction as a source of inspiration. So far, I drawn a blank. Any help would be appreciated. S

  2. I am very impressed with the work that you have posted here. The way you present these biological phenomena and provide commentary on the character that each of the organisms possess is intriguing. So much so, in fact, that it has inspired me to learn more. I really appreciate what you are doing here and I hope to see more.

    • Thank you. I met Rachel Wingfield and Mathias Gmachl some time ago and they mentioned this work but I couldn’t find any reference to it. Now I can!
      Best wishes

  3. Hi there,
    I just stumbled across this page and I’m mighty excited about it! I’m a practising Surface Designer (student), and I’m currently working with bacterias and moulds. I want to know much more about you work and methods. I need advice on growing bacterias effectively (and safely). Where abouts in the world are you based? And do you have any exhibition type shows or spaces that are open to the public? I am so intrigued by your work, I want to know everything!


  4. Dear Simon,
    I’m a PhD student at UC Davis studying plant Science. I also teach intro bio here as well as art science fusion class. I also make my own artwork using bacteria and fungi. Your work is amazing! Do you take interested learners? I’m almost done with my PhD 🙂
    Any way we could skype? I really want to learn more! I feel as though I found a kindred spirit!

    • Thanks Anna, I’d love to see your own bacterial/fungal artwork. I don’t have much money to fund my art and science but if you’re ever over in the UK I’d be happy to introduce you to the lab etc. More than happy to chat about my projects. Email works best for me. Best wishes, Simon

  5. Simon — my name is Nicole Bogart, tech reporter with Global News in Toronto. I am interested in doing a piece about the cell phone bacteria art seen here. If possible, please contact me as soon as possible.

  6. Dear Simon, I’d like to make a short news item about the phone bacteria for a Dutch science news website. If you would permit us to use those images, that would be great. Please get in touch.

  7. Are Antimicrobial solutions for Phones, touch-devices, keyboards/mice TV Remotes, light switches, elevator buttons, car steering wheels, handles etc… being supported by Infectious Control Practitioners? Are you supportive of the idea? Do you want manufactures to produce products with antimicrobial properties?

  8. Hello! I’m currently undergoing an art-science collaboration project creating an installation with bioluminescent bacterial and sculpture. We are using Vibrio fisheri.

    Are you able to share a bit about your culturing methods, and how you got the optimal levels of luminescence? I must admit I have not heard of the glycerine trick! Could you tell me more?

  9. Hi, I would like to use some of your images for a science fair. Are your images free to use?

  10. hello there
    You’re images are amazing. Am I able to buy any prints from you somehow?
    many thanks, Alex

  11. Hi there,
    The microbe collections are really beautiful!! Especially those colorful bacteria and the fungi with special growth patterns on the agar plates. I’m a graduate student working in some project about the bacteria and fungi, though they look not as beautiful as yours. A small query here, do you think these artworks painted with the bacteria be long-term maintained? I mean will the colors still be there even after the bacteria are killed, or they will just disappear?
    Thank you for sharing so many beautiful pictures:)

  12. Hi there,
    The microbe collections are really beautiful!! Especially those colorful bacteria and the fungi with special growth patterns on the agar plates. I’m a graduate student working in some project about the bacteria and fungi, though they look not as beautiful as yours. A small query here, do you think these artworks painted with the bacteria be long-term maintained? I mean will the colors still be there even after the bacteria are killed, or they will just disappear?
    Thank you for sharing so many beautiful pictures:)

    • Hello, thank you for your kind words. The colours persist long after the bacteria have died. Some of the pigments are quite sensitive to light though and we sometimes use special glass to protect them. Best wishes, Simon

    • Hi Simon, you may contribute with a previous unpublished work (text, image) in relation to a word or phrase found at the source-text ‘The Sphinx Wants Me to Guess.”
      Please read the Instructons, and, if you like, contact me at aglimpseofnet@gmail.com.
      Best wishes, Dimitra

  13. Hi Simon,
    For a few months now, i’m following your blog. And i’m amazed about all the different species bacteria and their characters. As a Graphic Designer i would like to start a project about bacteria; how could you use them as a tool, or how can you communicate with bacteria, what can they tell you? Could you modify them into a shape, color or pattern? How can you make a medium or product of them?
    A lot of questions i like to discuss, so i’m looking for a biologist who is also interested in the properties of these micro-organisms and could tell me everything about it. And hopefully to create a project together..

    So if you’re interested or have some tips.. contact me!

    Best wishes,

    • Hi Ingrid, apologies for the lengthy delay in getting back to you. Thanks for your interest in my work. Yes, I’d be very happy to talk and collaborate. Best wishes, SimonQ

  14. hi dr simon park i am really fascinated about your bee-jeweled series of work i am also experimenting with crystals and wanted to ask for some advice on how to expand the size of the crystals more bigger. thanks Avisa x

  15. Hello-

    My son would like to attempt to recreate the experiment you did with soil and bioluminescent bacteria “The Exemplary Life of Soil”. You said “…Bioluminescent bacteria (naturally light producing bacteria) were inoculated onto the surface of a device containing agar which was then implanted into soil…” Our questions is thus: How was the agar implanted into the soil? Did you spread a thin layer on top of the agar plate? Was the agar plate heavily streaked with the bacteria? Or was a small concentrated sample of bacteria inoculated into the center of the agar plate? If streaked heavily, how do the “footprints” show through the collection of bacteria? We are extremely confused as to how to proceed _after_ the cultures have been put into the agar plates and in what pattern they should be initially placed. Any expedited help is greatly appreciated as my son would very much like to do this for a science fair project quite soon.

    Effusive thanks in advance and best of regards,

    Kat C.

    • Hi Kat, thanks for your interest in my work. I inoculated various plastic Petri dishes or square plastic assay plates around the perimeter of the agar, let these grow overnight, and then cut holes in side walls of these and simply pressed them into the soil of my garden. I hope this helps and good luck. Best wishes, Simon

    • Hi Niels, I’d be happy to give you my email address, if you could tell me a little bit more about why you want to contact me. I’m a little cautious because I get a lot of spam on my blog. Best wishes, Simon

      • Of course! I work for Lemz, an advertising agency based in Amsterdam. We are working on a campaign for which we are planning to “grow stuff”. As it is still in progress i can’t go into it to deep here on a public forum, but you can mail me at niels[at]lemz[dot]net, and i’ll mail you back with more information!



  16. Hi Simon,

    I am a student at Parsons School of Design in New York, I am a former student of Nurit Bar Shai and a member of Genspace community biolab in Brooklyn. I am working on my thesis project at Genspace, currently I’m growing kombucha to use the scoby as material as well as mycelium. I am really interested in your work on the blog, I am interested in the body’s interaction with materials and bioart. I’d love to speak further with you, in particular about isolating the gluconacetobacter xylinus bacteria from the kombucha. Let me know if you’d be interested in talking further,

    Ali Schachtschneider

  17. Hi Simon,
    your work is wonderful! As a fellow artist who is working in bacteria for my thesis, it is a pleasure to list you as a contemporary working artist!
    Best of luck, and I hope to see your pigment bacteria images some day.
    Lea WiseSurguy-Sophiliazo

    • Thank you so much Lea. It means a lot to me, to be appreciated by artists like yourself. I’m always happy to provide microbiological advice. Best wishes, Simon

  18. Hello,

    My name is Olivia MacKinnon. I am a student at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg. Currently I’m doing a project on bioluminescent algae and I’m having a lot of trouble photographing it. Do you have any advice on the specific settings? I have a Canon Rebel camera.

    Please reply to my e-mail at o_mackinnon@hotmail.com.

    Thank you,

    • Thanks for this Olivia. I use a Canon 7D and tripod with an exposure time of 1-5 secs so the setup shouldn’t be too different to what you have. One issue you need to be aware of is that they only produce light at night, so if you want to see them glow during the day, you need to train them to a specific light/dark cycle. I hope this helps. Best wishes, Simon

  19. Dear Simon

    I’m a journalist working for Hungary’s origo.hu news portal. I saw your photos about the bacteria on mobile phones on your blog, and I’d like to present them to our readers. Naturally, I’d display the proper credit line and a link to your blog (or a different link you specify).
    Would you let us use your images with these conditions?

    Thanks a lot,

    Adrian Stvorecz
    Science Journalist

  20. Hi Simon

    Are you based in Surrey England ? I am really fascinated by your colliding worlds and how you are using digital communication as a reciprocal engagement and seedbed… I am very interested in re-defining and adapting classification systems could I email you. Your work inspires me to carry on my journey…which I feel has only just begun…

    • Thanks for this Linn. Yes, I’m based at the University of Surrey in Guildford, but live in Hampshire. You might also find mind other microbiology based blog interesting:

      If you give me an email address, I’ll email you so that you have mine.

      Best wishes


  21. Greetings Simon!
    I’ve seen your photos with Photobacterium phosphoreum, they are truly wonderful! They led me to an idea for a workshop for my faculty’s science fair, so could you please tell me where to find these bacteria? If I do manage to get my hands on them, do you have some advice on growing them? Do they need to be trained for a specific day/night cycle?

    Best wishes,

    • Thanks for this Karla. These bacteria produce light continually so there’s no need to train them. You should able to get them from culture collections,but if not they’re really easy to isolate from fresh fish and seafood. Best wishes, Simon

  22. Hi Simon,
    for the german pupil-competition “Jugend forscht” we made a project about the slime mold “Physarum polycephalum”, and we want to present it at the national final at Ludwigshafen in may. For our presentation posters we need some pictures of the slime mold, and they have to be high resolution because of the huge size of our posters. On your website we found a great picture (http://exploringtheinvisible.com/2013/12/17/physarum-vivisection/, third photo) of “Physarum Polycephalum”, which has a high resulution. We would be grateful if we could use this photo for our posters, because it is a pupil’s project, and our ressources are limited. If you require any further information, feel free to contact me via E-Mail or just answer

    Thanks a lot,

    • Thanks for this Tobi. Please feel free to use the photograph for your project. If you could credit me or my blog for it that would be great.

      Good luck!

      Best wishes


  23. Hi Simon
    Have just come across your blog via twitter and wondered if there is any chance i could email you a short questionnaire? I’m writing an essay for my MA Fine Art course on artists who make maps which are inspired by or creating from nature/natural materials. My dealing is getting tight…I need to have it finished in a few weeks, but I just think your work would be great to reference. I will send you a copy of the essay when it is finished. If you are happy to do this, please email me and I will email you the questionnaire. (also, I you know of or are working with any other artists who create maps from microbiologies or microgeographies, I would be very obliged if you could give me their names.
    Best wishes


  24. Hi!
    You have such an interesting website! Such projects are really valuable for those who are interested in biology.
    I myself am a molecular biologist, but right now I’m really interested in creating an educational project to promote interest in biology, especially at microscopic level. I just started uploading some of my videos on youtube. For example, I have a recent video about what happens to a hair when it gets burnt – I was really fascinated by this change and I hope that it might be interesting for other people too. Also, in the near future I’ll be uploading videos about the hard life or sea urchin sperm vs the hard life of human sperm…
    If you are interested in any of my videos for your website, feel free to embed them to your posts, with the reference to my channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/mithotynochka/videos. In return, I can leave a reference to your website somewhere in my videos if you would like that.
    Let me know if you are interested in any collaboration!
    Sincerely, Nadezda

  25. Hello Simon,

    I’m just an ordinary person who is pasionated about bioluminescence but I do not have the access to your Photobacterium Phosphoreum HB. Do you have it for sale? Or where can I buy it? If you can, would you be able to send it to me, please? I’ll pay for shipping and everything.

    Thank you.
    Trang Truong

    • Thanks for this Trang. Because it’s considered to be a biological agent I’m not really allowed to ship bacteria to people that work outside of labs. Where are you based? It’s relatively easy to isolate bioluminescent bacteria from seawater and you could quite easily get your own from here. Best wishes, Simon

  26. Hi there. I am in the process of making a science fiction short film and would love to chat to you about using some of your footage to create interesting space environments? Would you be interested in something like this at all? From South Africa…

      • That is excellent. Thanks Simon. Is there any way I can contact you over e-mail to tell you more about what I am doing? If you aren’t comfortable posting your e-mail address then you can contact me on info@siklus.co.za – either way – would love to chat further!

  27. Hi, Dr. Park —

    I am writing an essay on book art and Darwin. I’d like to reproduce your photo of “The Origin of Species” in the essay at http://www.books-on-books.com. Do I have your permission? If so, do you have a preference for how the credit should read? Finally, could you provide the dimensions of the work?

    Robert Bolick

    • Thanks for this Robert. Please feel free to reproduce the photo. If you credit myself Dr Simon Park and the blog that will be fine. The book is the size of a standard paperback book. Best wishes, Simon

  28. Hello, all of your works are truly exciting. I would like to incorporate some of your works into a video I am currently designing. Can we chat about the usage term and etc? I am leaving my email address here. So very looking forward to hearing from you. All the best,

  29. Dear Dr.Simon:

    My name is Hong Yu, I am Master’s student studying Sustainability in Fashion at ESMOD Berlin, and an assistant at a start-up lab in Berlin, we are growing bacterial cellulose as alternative leather.

    Thank you so much for shearing your experiences on the blog, and being so informative and open about your processes. I’ve tried to produce the bacterial dye myself, it wasn’t so successful. Therefore, would be great if you can give a little workshop.

    This project is part of my Master’s thesis, I am proposing that tinker with nature is a new sustainable design strategy and it will be viable in the near future.

    I understand that you are busy. But would be great if I am permitted to visit your lab, or if you could share your perspective on using biology in design. I can also send you a detail proposal if you are interested.

    Thank you
    Hong Yu

  30. Hello,
    I am a Master’s student at London College of Fashion, I started to work with biomaterials a year ago and have been focusing on microorganisms recently, your work is really exciting and inspiring !
    I would like to know if I could use some of your pictures to illustrate my work ?
    Also I’d love to learn more about bacteria’s behavior and how to photograph them, if there is any chance that we can meet, it would be amazing!

    All the best,

    • Thanks for this Laure and for your interest in my work. Please feel free to use any of the pictures on my blog. It you could credit me and the my blog that would be great. Happy to talk more, if you wanted to visit the lab or over the phone. Best wishes, Simon

      • Thank you for your answer, obviously I’ll be happy to credit you and link your blog. I was pleasantly surprised seing your work on CLOT Magazine yesterday, very good interview ! I would love to visit your lab, can we organize that by email ?

        All the best

  31. Hey Simon,

    your images are fantastic!
    I’m co-organising a hackathon, Science Hack Day Berlin. It’s a annual hackathon for DIY science, citizen science and taking down barriers between science and the general public. We’re about to make our posters for the event and like to take one of you pics as part of it. Can we do that? We would credit you on the page as well on our page:

    P.S. adding a licence to your pictures would probably help with similar requests in the future.
    For example a creative commons licence.

    Best wishes,

  32. Hi Simon, would it be OK for me to use some of your images of ascorbate crystals in my forthcoming feature-length documentary film on polar exploration? I find they are so beautiful! My independent film shows how important it was for explorers, a hundred and more years ago, to prevent scurvy, even if Vitamin C, per se, had not yet been identified. Thanks for letting me know, George

  33. There is no doubt to me that the content your website offers is some of the purest and most valuable on the internet. I have a background in design and I am totally fascinated by the sheer beauty of nature that you reveal. Just wanted to let you know that because I noticed you stopped adding new observations since a few months. Working on any new projects? Anyways keep up the good work man!

    • Thanks for this Fabian. Apologies for my delayed response, caused by illness. Thanks for your kind comments they’re very much appreciated!. I’m in good health now so hope to begin posting again soon. Best wishes, Simon

  34. Simon,

    Would it be possible to use some of your images as reference photos for art? I came across a blog post of yours from 2014 (“In a small drop of pond water”) in Google search for microscopic images of water. They are fantastic! I’m putting together an exhibition of macroscopic and microscopic paintings including satellite images from space. The end result for your images would be similar to this body of work: http://bock-nelson.com/albums/microcosm


  35. Hello Simon. I have come across your blog recently, and am fascinated by your amazing work. I love how you create and capture these stunning images, also closely detailing the precise science that we perceive on the picture. I understand you mentioned above on your page that you do not see yourself as an artist, yet your photos spark me as true art in a form I have never seen before. As an admirer who truly respects your work I would like to ask you if I have your permission to use one of your pictures as part of the artwork for a musical project? Of course you will be credited accordingly. If you do not wish me to use one of your images, I fully understand and respect that. Looking forward to more of your work!

    Best of wishes,

    • Thanks for this Denzel and for your very kind words. Very much appreciated! Please feel free to use any of the images in your music project and good luck with it! Best wishes Simon

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