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Between the 1860s and 1890s, father-and-son glassworkers Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka created thousands of anatomically correct models of marine invertebrates in their Dresden studio. They shipped these stunningly lifelike models to universities and museums around the world for use as teaching aids—real-life squids and sea anemones being somewhat difficult to procure in the middle of, say, Australia. Guided by scientific drawings, and later by live specimens, the Blaschkas used an array of sophisticated, often proprietary glassblowing techniques to create the pieces of each model, which they then assembled with wire, resin, and other adhesives.
"Modern glass blowers have tried to copy the Blaschkas, and they can't," says French photographer Guido Mocafico, who spent several years traveling to museums across Europe to shoot hundreds of Blaschka models. "They had no assistants—it was only the father and son working in the studio—so they never taught anyone their technique. When the son died, he took all that knowledge with him."
Mocafico - Blaschkas - Jellyfish - Aquariums - Series
Mocafico learned about the Blaschkas while photographing jellyfish in aquariums for a previous series. While researching jellyfish online, he kept stumbling across images of the Blaschkas' glass models and mistaking them for the real thing. When he embarked on...
(Excerpt) Read more at: WIRED
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