In 1990, the Voyager I space probe sent a photograph of Earth taken from a distance of six billion kilometers. Inspired by this image, astrophysicist Carl Sagan wrote one of the most moving and vibrant texts of modern science. In Pale Blue Dot, Sagan reflected on the fleetingness of human existence in the vastness of the Universe. That "mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam" contained human kind along with all its contradictions, dreams, failures, and achievements.

Through these photographs, Antonio Romero is giving us a series of gifts. First, a gift to our sight that will undoubtedly light a spark in each of us. The eye never dreamed beauty could be found in a molecule of glucose. The optic nerve never suspected serine hid a watercolor by Andy Warhol. The visual cortex could have never conceived that there were islands, trees, and fractal geometries hidden in biotin.

We never thought that our hair could stand on end watching the battle between two molecules of hemoglobin.

Yet another gift of the author is that of travel. As humans, several feet in height, our perception of reality is limited by the boundaries of our senses, and our eyes are physically unable to see anything smaller than the pores on a piece of paper. By watching these images, an unknown world is revealed. According to the dictates of quantum physics, objects do not exist until observed, and for that reason the author gives generously and allows us to share the beauty of the hidden face of things, realizing such beauty and making us feel some of what Isaac Newton felt when seeing light divided into its constituent colors by a prism.

However, and without any doubt, the greatest of his gifts has to do with that little blue dot in the darkness of space.

The stone-like solidity of cholesterol, the luminous colors of dopamine, the staggering array of textures, tones, and shapes of each of the images in this series remind us of our own frailty, and invite us to look out from inside ourselves. We can now contemplate the atoms, gathered in molecules and making up these tiny and yet valuable compounds, which were born hundreds of millions of years ago in the core of supermassive stars, only to be blown into the universe, millions of kilometers and years away, after the death of these stars.

In the same way that Sagan's musings put our existence in a relative perspective, Antonio Romero's photographs are an invitation to live. These are a reminder that humans are to be found between the micro- and the macrocosmos. He reveals, through instants of light, that each of us contains a wondrous universe.

 

Carlos Máiquez Romero, M.D.