Lars Bech, one of Small World’s most celebrated photomicrographers, passed away on March 9, 2011. Hailing from The Netherlands, Lars was a Small World winner many times. Lars’ relationship with Small World has lasted almost as long as the competition itself. He was there in the early days, when the medium was film, and entrants were required to submit 35mm slides. Lars first won back in 1981, placing 4th and 16th with his trademark subject matter- closeups of various chemical compounds. When photography moved to digital, and transformed Small World in the process, Lars continued to awe the judges with his digital creations, earning an Image of Distinction as recently as 2010.
Part of the allure and popularity of Small World stems from the magnificent and sometimes familiar imagery revealed by the microscope. Mr. Bech’s seemingly mundane chemicals and pharmaceuticals were, in fact, beautiful creations strikingly reminiscent of some of the greatest works of art. His 1996 winning photo of Doxorubin conjures up the paintings of Paul Klee, most notably Klee’s famous “Dream City”, and the 1992’s image of, among other things, Valium, could easily be mistaken for a Van Gogh.
Nikon is honored to have shared Mr. Bech’s photographic brilliance with the world over the years, and proudly present the collection of his winning images below.
Images by Lars Bech