When ANAND VARMA takes a photograph of a parasitic wasp consuming a caterpillar from the inside, he doesn’t want to you to be disgusted. He wants you to be astonished. After all, he’s devoted years of his life to perfecting his techniques to create dramatic, bizarre — and beautiful — images of the miniature world around us. In these truly unique images, he reveals the secret life cycle of the honeybee, captures the lightning-fast behaviors of hummingbirds, and offers a rare glimpse at our world’s small wonders.
ANAND VARMA grew up exploring the streams and wooded lots near his childhood home in Atlanta, Georgia. As a teenager, he picked up his dad’s old camera on a whim and found that he could use it to feed his curiosity about the natural world — and to share his adventures and discoveries with others.
Varma graduated with a degree in integrative biology from UC Berkeley and now helps biologists communicate their research through photographs. His work tells the story behind the science on everything from primate behavior and hummingbird biomechanics to amphibian diseases and mangrove forests.
Since 2006, he has assisted David Liittschwager, Christian Ziegler, Joel Sartore, and Tim Laman on 13 articles for National Geographic magazine. In 2010, he was awarded a Young Explorer Grant from the National Geographic Society to photograph the wetlands of northern Patagonia. Since then, he has photographed two feature stories for National Geographic. His first story, “Mindsuckers,” appears on the November 2014 cover.
Photo: Green Violetear Hummingbird by ANAND VARMA.