The Fundamental Units by Photographer Martin John Callanan

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Photographer Martin John Callanan, a Teaching Fellow at the University College (London), an intense researcher, Editor of Leonardo Electronic Almanac and Publisher at a online artworks site called Merkske. That’s the kind of informed background he comes from.

His work over the years has included translations of “active communication data into music; freezing in time the earth’s water system; writing thousands of letters; capturing newspapers from around the world as they are published; taming wind onto the internet and broadcasting his precise physical location live for over two years.”

With scores of published and displayed works in Europe, The Americas, Asia and Australia, we loved his absolutely tech savvy project – The Fundamental Units.

With the bitcoins being all the rage and global economies facing a currency crisis here and there, countries constantly revamp or abolish their lowest denominations time and again.

Categorized as “worthless coins” in the economic setup, Callanan initiated to save all such currencies from across 166 countries. Not by taking up a anti-wipeout campaign but capturing these lost coins with his lens.

The creative series was first kickstarted with the works of Horrach Moya Gallery. The artist teamed up with the National Physical Laboratory(NPL) in U.K, that boasts off having Europe’s best 3D microscope.

The coins are photographed with 4,000 individual exposures and processed over a span of three days to produce these marvellous single photogrraphs shown below. Each of them weighs approximately 400 megapixels and measures 1.2X1.2 meteres, a good 3.9 square feet.

Martin opines that the high defination photography reveals the the “material makeup of the coin, marks and traces from their use as tokens of exchange.”

An interesting tidbit about currencies before you can check out these beautiful reproduction of coins from Australia, Chile, The Euro, Mynamar, Kingdom Of Swaziland.

Every coin the US State Treasury mints to produce 1 cent coin costs them 2 cents. Its best to undesratnd the value of the metal and the human resources that go into producing a small denomination of the currency. With people dealing everyday in millions and billions, probably the value of a cent goes unrecognized.

Do have a look at Martin’s samples below.

see the full article

Daily Mail: Look after your pennies: microscopic pictures of world’s lowest value coins to save them for future generations

Daily Mail

Look after your pennies: Photographer takes microscopic pictures of world’s lowest value coins to save them for future generations

  • The Fundamental Units is a project by photographer Martin John Callanan
  • Used Europe’s best microscope’ to show each coin in all its worn charm
  • Comes as governments debate whether to do away with lowest value coins
  • With every battered line, scrape and knock, each coin has been rendered as individual as the many thousands of hands they have passed through.

    Now, as governments across the world debate whether to do away with their lowest value coins, one photographer is on a mission to save as many pennies as he can before they are consigned forever to history,

    Photographer Martin John Callanan is busy working on a photo project entitled The Fundamental Units – a series of extremely large prints showing the lowest value coins of countries around the world.

    He has teamed up with National Physical Laboratory in Teddington, to use ‘Europe’s best microscope’ to show each coin in all its worn charm.

    Each coin is photographed with 4,000 individual tiny exposures, and it takes three days of processing to turn the individual photos into a single composite photograph weighing 400 megapixels. Printed out, each photo measures 1.2 and 1.2 meters (~3.9 square feet).

    ‘In this sense, and in response to the dominance of macroeconomics in the discourse of the media, the artist chooses a microscopic view of the world economy.

    ‘The Fundamental Units, a series that begins with the works produced by Horrach Moyà Gallery for this exhibition, is an exploration of the lowest denomination coins from the world’s currencies using an infinite focus 3D optical microscope at the National Physical Laboratory in Teddington.’

    ‘The images obtained with the microscope have been combined to form an extremely detailed large scale reproduction of the least valuable coins from Australia, Chile, the Euro, Myanmar and the Kingdom of Swaziland.

    ‘In these images the humble metal acquires a planetary dimension and is displayed as the atoms that shape the global economy.’

    There are many precedents for scrapping small coins.

    In America, the half-cent was abolished in 1857, and in 1984 the UK’s halfpenny was withdrawn.

    New Zealand and Australia abandoned the one-cent and two-cent coin in the 1990s.

    Campaigners in the US and UK also want the penny and cent coins to be consigned to history, because nothing can be bought with a one-cent or one-penny coin.

    see the full article by Amanda Williams

    Reposted on Numismatica

    Coins of the World Photographed Using Europe’s Best Microscope

    The Fundamental Units

    Michael Zhang writes about the Fundamental Units over on Peta Pixel with lots of images.

    Did you know that it costs the US Mint 2 cents to produce every 1 cent coin due to the cost of materials and production? Countries such as Canada have already done away with their lowest denomination coins due to their costs and lack of usefulness.

    As these “worthless” coins cause debates in their governments about whether or not they should be abolished, photographer Martin John Callanan is on a mission to save them… not as a currency, but rather in photographs.

    Read the full article

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