Mindsuckers: Photographer Turns Parasites Into Art

Parasitic organisms may not be the first thing you think of when it comes to timelapse art, but Anand Varma is determined to change that. In a dynamic graphic novel style, Varma beautifully depicts the relationship between parasite and host, and an organism’s growth. The result is eerily exciting and captivating for the general public and biologists alike:

Varma wanted to reveal these often detested creatures in a new and electrifying light:

“The graphic novel approach kinda came out of a desire to portray these creatures in an interesting and dramatic way; to separate one organism from the other…A way to show these parasites in a familiar scene that had something very surprising going on.”

parasite photography timelapse anand varma

Varma’s Graphic Novel Style

However, these creepy crawlies can prove to be difficult subjects. Unlike seasoned models, these organisms don’t respond to a photographer’s directions. Varma had to use a mixture of biological procedures and photographic techniques to get the organisms to photograph in a usable and unique way.

parasite timelapse anand varma

One of Varma’s Setups

When photographing the cricket and horsehair worm, Varma had to use a special saline solution to coax the worm out of the body, tricking it into thinking it was still inside the cricket.

parasite photography timelapse anand varma

Saline Solution

Continuous ingenuity and troubleshooting invariably goes into photography of this nature—and quite frankly, all types of photography.

parasite project timelapse anand varma

Parasite Photography

“I imagined you put a lot of work and a lot of time in and then you become a good photographer, and then it’s easy. And it took a while for it to occur to me that that process doesn’t end. You get a great picture and then you move on. And you get a new set of challenges and then you get a new problem. That’s a great thing. I’ve learned to embrace that process of accepting every new picture as a new challenge and that’s become part of the joy of being a photographer.”

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