Food Coloring Goes Under The Microscope In This Collection Of Stunning Crystal Imagery

Biochemist and experimental photographer Linden Gledhill coaxed some common food dyes into crystal and then turned them into art.

If you truly are what you eat you should definitely eat more Tartrazine Yellow and Allura Red, because man are they ever beautiful. Food colorings like these often make headlines when some study (or rumor of a study) suggests they are slowly killing us (remember back in the '90s when Yellow 5--that's Tartrazine--was allegedly making us all sterile?). But here, biochemist and experimental photographer Linden Gledhill has captured them in all their crystalline, microscopic grandeur.

Gledhill first discovered these beautiful crystal structures in the course of his day job while staining biological samples for microscopy. After developing some methods for producing the exact crystal shapes that he wanted he placed the dyes in microscope slides and let them dry out and crystalize from anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Gledhill then used a Canon EOS 5D Mark II mashed up with an Olympus BH-2 trinocular microscope, differential interference contrast optics, and special LED and high-speed flash systems to turn it all into art. Click through the gallery link to see just how stunning food coloring can be.

Click to launch the photo gallery

All images courtesy Linden Gledhill.

Tartrazine
Tartrazine goes by many names, including Acid Yellow 23, E102, and Yellow 5. It also makes for a very pretty crystalline structure when magnified a few hundred times.Linden Gledhill
Allura Red AC
Allura Red AC goes by a number of handles, including Allura Red, FD&C; Red 40, and Food Red 17. It is primarily used as a food coloring. Fun fact: Its melting point is above 570 degrees.Linden Gledhill
More Allura Red
Linden Gledhill
Allura Red AC Goes Orange
Linden Gledhill
Allura Red AC As Fireworks
Linden Gledhill
Even More Allura Red AC
Linden Gledhill