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More than 25 billion doses of acetaminophen are sold every year in the United States. Most people think nothing of these pills and their chemical constituents, imbibing them to relieve pain as directed by their physician. Not photographer Peter Juzak, though. This German photographer, who specializes in microscopic photography, is using his talents to show the world that within these synthesized medications are an indescribable crystalline beauty. “I’m intrigued by the endless variety of colors and shapes,” he says. “To me, it’s like traveling through the infinity of space.”


Juzak has been taking microscopic photographs of acetaminophen for over four years now. He begins by smashing the tablets into a powder and then he pours the grains onto a slide, which he heats up using a hotplate to melt the powder and then allows it to crystallize. The crystallization can take anywhere from a few hours to even a week or more. When the process is complete, Juzek then peers at the slide through a Jenalab polarizing microscope fitted with his Sony Alpha 7 camera to capture the freshly-revealed beauty. Since the imagery is microscopic, each slide can yield hundreds of individual images, each as vivid and prismatic as the last.

Juzak developed his interest for microscopic photography after reading a book about it in 1979. He then borrowed a microscope from a pharmacist friend and began to dabble in it himself. Since then, Juzak has photographed over 40 different substances, such as benzoic acid, paracetamol, vitamin c, et cetera, all of which offer a stunning and eye-opening view at these medications that people consume everyday. (h/t: wired)

Below are some of the photographs from Juzak’s acetaminophen collection. Check out more of Juzak’s microscopic photography at: microphot.de

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