Margaret LeJeune


About: For the last 2 years, Margaret has been investigating the use of bioluminescent organisms in her photographic practice.  The resulting series, Growing Light, explores the intermittent and fleeting glow of bioluminescent algae and bacteria on photographic papers and films. As a marriage of conceptual photography and scientific exploration, these images capture the beauty of this unique light source, exploring the quiet evidence of energy and decomposition in nature along with the human threats to even microscopic life.

The photographs in Growing Light are unique, one-of-a-kind contact prints that document the natural glow produced by these organisms by marrying lab-based experiments with traditional darkroom processes.  Working with biology faculty on campus and in institutions across the country, she has learned how to safely collect, culture, and handle a variety of bioluminescent organisms, including Vibrio fischeri bacteria, Pyrocystis fusiformis dinoflagelletes, Panellus stipticus mushrooms, and Cypridina hilgendorfii sea firefly.

What Margaret seeks: She is interested in working with a marine biologist or entomologist (seasoned PI, graduate student or post-doc) who has experience working with bioluminescent organisms (dinoflagellates, bacteria, worms, insects).

Where science partners would do: Margaret is interested in collaborating with a scientist at AS IF Center for a residency and/or borrowing or culturing organisms or bacteria.  She is available to travel to institutions that house bioluminescent organisms to do her work.

Where a partnership might lead: Margaret is interested in embedding in a lab, aquarium, or zoo that houses bioluminescent organisms as a resident artist.  She is also interested in culturing these organisms in my own studio.  She envisions an exhibition and/or publication from this collaborative project.

 Samples of this work can be viewed on Margaret’s website:

How to get the conversation started: Email Nancy at AS IF Center with a short description of your work, why you’re interested, and a link to your website if you have one.