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Obscuralucida | National Geographic Magazine

Calgary Photographer’s Stunning Scanner Art Featured in National Geographic Magazine

Julya Hajnoczky's unique approach to capturing Canada's flora and fauna is making waves in the world of photography

The dream of many photographers is being featured in National Geographic Magazine.

The magazine, founded in 1888 by the National Geographic Society, has set global standards for world-class nature and documentary photography.

One Calgarian’s high-definition photo scans of Canadian insects and plants are the lead story of the iconic magazine’s January 2024 issue.

Julya Hajnoczky has made a stunning impact in the world of photography and visual arts with her unique approach to capturing Canada’s flora and fauna.

Hajnoczky’s journey in using a scanner for photography began in 2015. 

“I put down this little island of lichen and this little dried flower” on a flatbed scanner, and that “first image…  really got me going on this project,” she told CTV News.

This experiment with a scanner unveiled a world of possibilities, and she described her images as “little worlds floating in space.”

Samples of Hajnoczky’s photo scans | | Instagram
Samples of Hajnoczky’s photo scans | | Instagram

A Travelling Field Studio 

Based in Calgary, Hajnoczky and her life partner, Gary Lorimer, often embark on photography adventures that can span months. 

The Alfresco Science Machine |
The Alfresco Science Machine |

Together, they explore Canada’s vast landscapes,

Hajnoczky collects items on these travels to transform into art.

Hajnoczky gets collection permits from the National Parks she visits and gathers up small items like plants, shells, insects, lichen and moss to make natural dioramas that she captures using her scanner. 

“Watching her actually build the art from the hike we just finished…it’s amazing!” Lorimer shares, expressing his awe at her artistic process.

Hajnoczky dedication to her craft involves living in a small travel trailer, dubbed the “Alfresco Science Machine,” which doubles as Hajnoczky’s mobile studio.

Hajnoczky built the tiny teardrop trailer in 2017 that has “just enough room for a queen-size bed and lots of pillows. The rear hatch opens up to reveal the workspace.”

“I travel with my scanner so that I can work with specimens in situ, still immersed in the landscape, allowing me to return materials to where I found them before heading home.” 

In her portable studio, she meticulously scans her findings, using a black tent to create the effect of floating items in space. 

But, once home in her computer studio, zooming into the high-res scans truly captivates Hajnoczky. 

“You can see just these incredible details of things like these plants; they’re covered in hair and just all kinds of stuff; it’s really fascinating,” she says.

Although not trained as a scientist, Hajnoczky’s interest in botany and biology shines through in her work. 

She spends time researching and identifying the unique flora of the areas she visits, often using her phone or a hand lens for closer examination. 

This process goes beyond mere photography, delving into the realms of natural science and exploration.

Epic Art Prints

The final prints of her images are striking in their scale, often reaching close to two meters in height. 

Hajnoczky collaborates with Costas Costoulas of Resolve Photo in Calgary to bring these large-scale prints to life. 

Costoulas shares his excitement for Hajnoczky’s success: “To see this kind of success coming her way is fantastic; we’re really pleased.”

Looking ahead, Hajnoczky is eager to continue her exploration of Canada’s ecosystem, with plans to visit the Arctic and possibly an artist residency in Norway. 

“I honestly feel like I’m just getting started,” she says, highlighting the endless possibilities of finding something new in nature, even in the same place at different times.

For those interested in diving deeper into the world of Julya Hajnoczky, her website or Instagram page offers a gateway to her captivating images, each telling a unique story of Canada’s natural wonders. 

As she continues her journey, one thing is clear: Hajnoczky’s work is a testament to the beauty and diversity of the Canadian landscape, seen through a lens that combines art, science, and an unending curiosity.

National Geographic is lucky to have this talented Albertan artist’s images grace their pages!

Julya Hajnoczky’s large wall prints |
Julya Hajnoczky’s large wall prints |

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