German photographer Christoph Morlinghaus became interested in the small internal worlds of computers while photographing motherboards for Cisco. For his project Computerwelt, Morlinghaus narrowed down his focus to microprocessors.
Getting up close with microprocessors isn’t an easy feat. These tiny integrated circuits contain all the functions of your computer’s CPU, and they are often about the size of a grain of rice. Viewed at close focus, microprocessors reveal incredible detail and vibrant color, as well as an uncanny resemblance to a city viewed from above.
“It looks like a three-dimensional skyline. You can get totally lost in it," Morlinghaus told Wired.
At his Miami studio, Morlinghaus used a Sinar P2 8×10 camera to photograph microprocessors in exquisite detail on analog film. With a 50mm f2.8 lens and a bellows that’s seven feet long, this camera fills up an entire room. Morlinghaus’ exposures lasted several minutes, a painstaking process which could be disrupted by the slightest motion. Each image took about a week to finish.
Titled Computerwelt (“Computer World” in German), the resulting series of microprocessor photos undeniably evokes a city viewed from above. The project feels like a modern take on the computer scenes from the 1982 film Koyaanisqatsi.
Scroll down to see photographs from two of Morlinghaus’ series: Computerwelt and Motherboard. Visit his online portfolio at morlinghaus.com.