Raising one’s eyes to the heavens, who doesn’t occasionally ask, “What is my place? What is my role? What is man to do on this earth, within the infinite expanses of space, of which no one knows the boundaries?”

Ancestral is our fear of the universe—but much stronger are its charms and its attractions. After all, man has always dreamed of being able to conquer the sky and then the great beyond. In the same way, photography is propelled by a desire to capture, to express (and sometimes to modify) a personal reality.

But what does one feel, knowing that our planet’s protagonists, the most common living thing, are nothing more than bacterial colonies? This series re-examines our image of such organisms, the beings that populate every corner of our planet, every surface and every other living creature.

We have the classic binaries: heaven/earth, finite/infinite, known and unknown. These give shape to the emotions that our works want to convey and inspire. Meanwhile, this series is animated by a trinary: photography between two extremes—the mighty planets and the minuscule bacteria. Utilizing the vision of the camera, opposites vie for our moods and our minds: high/low, dark/light, fantasy/reality, truth/abstraction.

Thus, these images subvert all logic: micro- becomes macro- and vice versa. The small forms the large and the large leads to the small in a vast and infinite space. The visible and the invisible are confused, as light becomes the author and accomplice of our perceptions, our vision and our hearing.

Thus, these photographs offer not only a dreamlike picture of imaginative (yet tiny) planets, they also contain other meanings: the fascination and fear of man’s destiny; the future of our Earth; our relationship to the unknown; science and its limitations.

This series incorporates our thirst for knowledge with the adrenaline of research and discovery. In short, these are the projection of our fears and anxieties, but also, of fantasies, dreams and the hopes we all carry within us.

—Caterina Pacenti, curator, 2016