9 Award-Winning Microscopic Photos Might Make You Rethink How You See The World

Microscopic mold never looked so beautiful.

If seeing is believing, then we have a very small fraction of the world to believe in. It’s true that we miss much of what’s available to be seen as a result of our brain not wanting to give us more than we can handle. Carnegie Mellon University psychology and neuroscience assistant professor Timothy Verstynen asserts that as much as 90% of what we “see” could be fabricated by our brains. Compared with the limited version of reality we’ve grown accustomed to, processing the inessential would likely be paralyzing — or just plain weird.

Trippy perception theories aside, cutting-edge photographic technology has given us a window into realms previously unknown to human perception — and we’re not just talking about faraway planets brought to our smartphone screens by NASA. Nikon’s Small World Photomicrography Competition has given us an inside look into a world hidden right before our very eyes. The best part? You can experience these micro-worlds for as long or as little as you like.

Check out the slideshow above to see the competition winners as well the most mind-bending runner-ups.