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Determining the cultural value of modern art can be a source of controversy. The days of super-realistic paintings that conjure up thoughts of the old Italian masters, such as Michelangelo  and Leonardo da Vinci, are long gone. Modern art is not as objective as classical art when it comes to depicting reality, and this is especially true when it comes to modern abstract art. When considering abstract art masterpieces from the past century, termites don’t usually come to mind. However, one particular photographer is showcasing his collection of abstract art pieces that were actually created by termites.


Several years ago a photographer named Pablo Bartholomew decided to track down some old photographs that he had taken in Bangladesh. During his search, Bartholomew located a box containing several film slides of pictures that he had taken in Bangladesh years prior. Unfortunately, the damp film within the box had become termite food. Initially, Bartholomew left the box alone for several weeks, but eventually he decided to hook up a projector in order to view the termite damaged slides. Once Bartholomew viewed the slides he discovered that the termites had created their own unique works of art on each slide. According to Bartholomew, the colors on the slides had mixed together, and all sorts of bizarre geometric shapes became noticeable. Some of the pictures still had remnants of the images that he had photographed, but most of the slides showed nothing but psychedelic color patterns. Whether the slides contain remnants of actual images or not there is no denying that these photographs now resemble something that Salvador Dali would have created. Bartholomew feels as though the termites ultimately improved his photos by making them more interesting. Some of the slide photographs contain splotches that focus on one particular feature in the original photograph that Bartholomew had never noticed before. One of Bartholomew’s favorite termite damaged photographs named Memento Mori is on display at a notable museum in India.


Do you think the termites that infested Bartholomew’s photo boxes were likely drywood termites since they obviously did not require soil to live?


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