Photography is often (though not always) considered a lens-based media. Danny J. Sanchez broadens the definition of the lens with a process he calls “photomicrography,” the act of taking a photograph through a microscope.
Sanchez is both a photographer and certified gemologist. Blending science and art, Sanchez’s images of gem stones are photographed through a microscope and composed with a technique called “focus stacking.” Each photograph is comprised of multiple exposures stacked on top of each other to achieve a manufactured depth of field that can be produced by one photograph alone. In his laboratory, Sanchez studies the natural geometry of his subject before photographing, using fiber optic tubes for lighting, and directing it with miniscule reflectors and black foil.
Exploring gemstones, he finds worlds within worlds. Though products of our earth, these stones have their own geography of imitate mountain ranges, caves, and quarries in vibrant, sparkling hues. Many of the photographs show the imperfections in the stones that would render them less valuable to collectors, but which Sanchez finds particularly appealing.
Staining within an etch tube in quartz, Brazil
Hematite bloom in quartz, Brazil
Apatite in spinel, Myanmar
Petroeum in quartz with methane bubble, Pakistan
Quartz with black inclusions within negative crystals, Brazil
Opal in ironstone, Queensland, Australia
Hourglass, color-zoned amethyst
Muscovite in quartz, Brazil
Negative crystals in amethyst, Veracruz, Mexico
All images © Danny J. Sanchez