Akihiro Shiroza

Glorification of the Dead

Chemically and Digitally Enhanced Xx xx Series

My most recent work as an artist stems from interacting, on a quotidian basis, with dead specimens and reflecting on my role as a larval fish collector and taxonomist. Using scientifically collected larval specimens, I glorify the fish through embalming rituals of cleaning, chemical treatment, and digital transformation.

The finished pieces are digital retouched collages of multiple super-macro photographs of chemically treated larval fish, some magnified up to 200 times to the size of their mature bodies. I conceived the concept and images after sorting and identifying larval fish (approximately 2 mm - 20 mm in total length) all day, every day, under the microscope. I've identified about 200,000 fish so far in the last three years. 
Prior to identification, and while using needles and forceps, I take my time to clean the specimens, and free them from dust and other foreign objects attached to their surface, as an act of respect to the deceased before their last judgment in the Big Book of Records. It’s only then, when I ask what they are, that they finally speak to me.

The process of creation

The larvae were initially cleared and stained; approximately a month long series of chemical treatment process developed in the 70's to study osteology so the flesh becomes translucent, bones red, and cartilages are stained blue. Magnified sections were photographed and stiched together panoramically. On some specimens, magnified sections were shot multiple times on different planes of focuses to compensate for the super-macro lens' narrow depth of field. The depth of focus were expanded manually by topographically arranging the photographs from the same section and erasing out of focus areas to reveal the focused bottom layer. Finally, the images were digitally enhanced to reveal unique larval characteristics and geometric shapes of the skeletal structures.


Installed at

Izakaya Japanese Restaurant

April 11th, 2011 - present
Please contact for hours

159 Aragon Ave # 1
Coral Gables, FL 33134


Past exhibits

Festival Promenades Photographiques

July 4th, 2020 - September 20th, 2020
Open 14:30 -18:30 except Tuesday

Rue César de Vendôme Quartier Rochambeau
41100 Vendôme, France

L'HOSTE Art Contemporain

September 14th, 2013 -October 5th, 2013
Opening 19:00 September 14th, 2013

7 rue de l'hoste
13200 Arles, France

IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame and Museum

September 27th, 2012 - April 24th, 2013

300 Gulf Stream way
Dania Beach, FL 33004


older works 1999~2006: Pre- and early Studio El Condor


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