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Images of the Day
Small Value, Big Pictures: Coins Of The World Photographed With High-Powered Microscope
April 16, 2013
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Photo: Martin John Callanan

We carry them in our pockets and purses, use them in our day-to-day purchases, and occasionally drop them into wishing wells. But when was the last time you really looked at a coin?

Photographer Martin John Callanan is taking a seriously close look at low-denomination currency from around the world with this photography project called 'The Fundamental Units'.

When it's finished, the project will feature large-scale, extremely high resolution photographs of the lowest denomination coin from each one of the world's 166 active currencies.

Photo: Martin John Callanan

That level of resolution is possible because of the machine that photographed the coins: it's called an infinite focus 3D optical microscope, and it takes incredibly detailed shots by scanning the surface of the coins in three dimensions.

The resulting shots are huge, with each one containing 400 million pixels (you can see low resolution preview versions of some of the coin images at Callanan's website).

The National Physical Laboratory in Teddington, UK teamed up with Callahan to take the shots, using what he calls "Europe's best microscope."

Photo: Martin John Callanan

The microscope makes images out of 4,000 very detailed separate exposures. It takes three days of processing to convert them into a single image.

Photo: Martin John Callanan

Callanan states on his site that the project is inspired by "the economic system, which has raised to such notorious prominence in recent years because of its obvious impact on our lives."

He also writes that he took the hyper-detailed pictures to reveal "the material makeup of the coin, marks and traces from their use as tokens of exchange," calling coins "the atoms that shape the global economy."

Photo: Martin John Callanan

Photo: Martin John Callanan

Photo: Martin John Callanan

Photo: Martin John Callanan

Via PetaPixel


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