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Mr. Andrei Savitsky and His “Tulip Bud Cross Section”, An Image that Won 9th Place at
the 45th Annual Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition

By Adelina, 10-22-2019

The winners of the prestigious Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition were just announced on October 21, 2019. Soon afterwards we caught up with Mr. Andrei Savitsky who won the 9th place for his exquisite photo titled “Tulip Bud Cross Section” and he graciously agreed to be interviewed to find out how he came up with the subject and his thoughts on taking microscopic images.

“Tulip Bud Cross Section”

Courtesy: Andrei Savitsky

What is the Nikon Small World Competition? The answer can be found on its website: 

“The Nikon Small World Competition first began in 1975 as a means to recognize and applaud the efforts of those involved with photography through the light microscope. Since then, Small World has become a leading showcase for photomicrographers from the widest array of scientific disciplines.” 

Here is a brief, yet informative dialogue we had with Mr. Savitsky. We hope you enjoy reading it as much as we did:

Q: Congratulations on your recent placement at 9th at the 45th Annual Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition. Please share with us your winning photo, “Tulip Bud Cross Section”,  and how you came up with the subject matter. 

A: Thank you for your congratulations! I saw some pictures on the Internet of small flowers in longitudinal section and I thought that the Tulip Bud in the section could look interesting. I made Photo Bud just like that, thinking that there is nothing special. But then when I began to consider the photo of the Bud I gradually began to understand that it turned out very beautiful.

"Ciliates Vorticella"  

Courtesy: Andrei Savitsky

Q: Please tell us how you became interested in taking microscopic images.

A: When I first got the microscope, for me every thing I saw was admirable. I wanted to share these emotions with others so I started taking photos to show to others. At first there were simple photos but over time I wanted to make them more beautiful so that people would enjoy them more.

Q: Please tell us the subjects that interest you the most when you take microscopic images.

A: I can't say what I'm most interested in. I take pictures of everything I can.

"Horsefly head"

Courtesy: Andrei Savitsky

Q: What equipment do you use to take these fine images?

A: The quality of my equipment does not correspond to the quality of the photo. So for me, this achievement is even more important. I was able to show that in order to achieve high quality photomicrographic results the main thing is to have aspiration, not expensive equipment -- I have an old Soviet-made microscope of educational level (Biolam R-11) and I shoot everything using a smartphone.

"Crystals of fucorcin"

Courtesy: Andrei Savitsky

Q: When making your images, what is more important: the scientific aspects of them or their aesthetics or something else?

A: For me, the more important is the aesthetic side as I want my photos to make a strong impression on people.

Q: If you don’t mind, please share with us your image taking and editing techniques.

A: I try to use all the contrast methods available to me. I often use focus stacking to make the whole object clear. If possible, I try to do panoramic shooting even where it is not necessary, to get a high quality photo. Editing usually consists of adjusting the brightness, contrast, and clearing the background of debris.

"Сladocera Simocephalus"

Courtesy: Andrei Savitsky

Q: What are your inspirational sources?

A:  I've always been inspired by photos of microscopists who are better than me. When I see their pictures I then strive to do something at the same level. The microscopist  inspires me the most is my friend from Russia, Alexander Klepnev.

Q: What is your advice for aspiring photographers who are interested in microscopy. 

A: The main thing is not to lose interest and work hard to constantly improve their skills. Explore what at first glance does not seem interesting; its beauty may lurk underneath. 

We thank Mr. Savitsky for his time sharing with our readers. His images are truly amazing and impressive. We sincerely wish him great success ahead in producing many more amazing photomicrographic images.
Mr. Savitsky's Instagram