Microscopic Movie Stars

Photographer Roman Vishniac is perhaps best-known for documenting Jewish communities in Eastern Europe before World War II, but he also was a science buff. In the 1950s-1970s, with funding from the Educational Testing Service, the National Science Foundation and others, he made educational science films, featuring footage he shot through his microscope. Vishniac was a pioneer of cinemicroscopy (as he called it). The craft has changed with digital photography, says Dutch photographer Wim van Egmond, who has won numerous awards for his photomicrographs. van Egmond explains some of the techniques he uses to capture the micro-world in action.


Wim van Egmond, Heather Heckman/Moving Image Research Collections, University of South Carolina, “The Worlds of Dr. Vishniac” Copyright © 2012 Educational Testing Service. www.ets.org Roman Vishniac photos © Mara Vishniac Kohn, courtesy International Center of Photography

Meet the Producer

About Flora Lichtman

Flora Lichtman was the host of the podcast Every Little Thing. She’s a former Science Friday multimedia producer.