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The spectacular unworldly visuals of C16H10N2O2 from under the microscope.

Returning home with a stack of slides and finally the right equipment to capture my images in hires, I began the documentation. By matching the lens of the Fujifilm XH-1 to the eyepiece, I was able to retain the circular planet-like frame I had been obsessed with from the first moment I set eyes on indigo under the microscope.

Beneath the microscope

Down the corridors of BITS Pilani Goa

After developing the initial ideas of the project from the comfort of my home, where I used a borrowed school microscope to capture some initial images of the indigo dye mixed with household substances and photographing them using my iPhone (the only lens that would match with the eyepiece of the microscope), I took to BITS Pilani to move into a more of a controlled environment with high-grade equipment and access to more potent substances.

I created two batches of indigo mixed with a range of chemicals with the intension of documenting their behaviour overtime when stored at polar environments: +37C and -20C. After documenting the slides at conception, I stored one batch in a oven-like heated box and the other in a cold room, and returned the following day to document the reactions.

Reduced Indigo with (CH3)2SO:

0 hours (at conception) 19 hours later after being stored at +37C

Top : photographed through the Zeiss Primo Star inbuilt camera

Bottom: photographed through the eyepiece using my iPhone

As you can see from the examples above of the same slide the reactions after being exposed to difference environments are vastly different (this was the most extreme difference in states I found from my samples).

The cropped sensor of the inbuilt camera and rectangular perspective completely lost all character as a stand-alone image for me, so I was back to capturing the images through the eyepiece to retain that globe like frame.

The Modular & Zero Waste Darkroom

A phase of the exploration into Indigo dye, as apart of the Arvind Indigo project, I took the series of microscopic images and explored printing them through traditional photographic technique - incorporating Indigo dye into the processes.

Considering that these traditional photographic processes use many hard chemicals, I was concerned with the amount of hard chemistry that will be washed down the sink into the public waterways. So to tackle this I linked up with BITS Pilani, Goa's Waste Water Management course to build a filtration system, that will filter the grey water.

The simple, yet effective system (shown above) uses the canna indica plant (wild canna lily) that absorbs heavy metals such as aluminium, iron and phosphorous, purifying the grey water which runs out after filtering through layers of pebbles, sand and gravel into the garden. When the canna lily blossoms, it produces red and yellow lilies– a beautiful reward for being environmentally conscious!

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