Extreme close-ups: New show takes us through the macro lens of Yousef Al Habshi

The new macro photography exhibition at Manarat Al Saadiyat reveals unseen wonders from the world of science and nature

Photograph of a stag beetle by Yousef Al Habshi, part of his touring exhibition ‘The Unseen’ on view at The Photography Studio at Manarat Al Saadiyat until Monday, October 28. Yousef Al Habshi

Yousef Al Habshi gets close – really close – to his subjects. Specialising in macro photography, he is able to capture sights that elude the human eye: a headshot of a stag beetle or the eyes of an arachnid, for example. These images are on view at The Photography Studio at Manarat Al Saadiyat as part of the touring exhibition The Unseen, which runs until October 28. The show features a collection of 27 photographs by Al Habshi, complemented by a public programme of talks and workshops for beginners and children led by the photographer himself.

With subjects that are at once foreign and familiar, the photographs give visitors a startling, and perhaps slightly hair-raising look, into the world of insects and their ways of survival. The visuals, which are filled with textures and iridescent shapes, also show the precision of Al Habshi’s skills.

"Despite their microscopic size, these vertebrates' vital significance plays a major role – that exceeds their size a thousand-fold – for everything around us, whether for humans, animals or even plants," said Al Habshi. "Modern science is still probing the mysteries of these creatures' lives, and coming up with new discoveries every day."

Since 2010, the photographer has been drawn to macro photography. His work earned him first place in Nikon's Small Worlds photomicrography competition in 2018, making him the first Arab to win the award. His photographs have also been exhibited in China as part of the Hamdan bin Mohammed International Photography Award, and used by universities as resource material and for scientific projects.

The Unseen is on view at The Photography Studio at Manarat Al Saadiyat until Monday, October 28. More details are available on manaratalsaadiyat.ae. More information on Yousef Al Habshi can be found on uaemacro.com.