At TAP Creativity Exhibition of Light Forms Art Photography by Ela Kurowska. A photo by Paul LambertPhoto by Paul Lambert

Artist's Statement

This series of works has evolved from my long lasting interest in photography and from my passion for life sciences. I explore an abstract view of the origins of life, attempting to visualize overpowering forces that compel the natural world to create and develop life. My art depicts transformation from organic matter to living organisms, where simple life forms emerge from the darkness, bursting with light and vibrant colors.

I started a photo-based art project “Light Forms” after stumbling across an old, long forgotten visualization technique from the field of material science. This technique utilizes polarized light to visualize stresses in solid, transparent materials subjected to deformations. Very quickly I realized that modifying this approach to employ organic gels – a softer and more malleable material – presented me with a medium of an enormous artistic potential. Using my biochemistry lab skills, I started experimenting.

I have since discovered and applied diverse methodologies that transform amorphous, translucent organic gels into colorful, luminescent, three-dimensional compositions resembling living organisms. This conceptual transformation is realized through the gels’ conversion from liquid to solid that is physically influenced by steps such as heating, molding, arranging, sculpting, or stressing. The otherworldly colors and light effects of the images are achieved by the use of polarizer filters.


  • 2023 London Public Library, solo exhibition, London ON, Canada
  • 2022 Gallery Arte Azulejo, ROOTS competition winners’ exhibition, New York, US
  • 2022 Tokyo International Foto Awards Winners, group exhibition, Tokyo, Japan
  • 2022 Group exhibition, Art Comp @ 100 Kellog Lane, London ON
  • 2020 Fringe Gallery group show, London ON
  • 2019 Budapest International Foto Awards winners exhibition, Budapest, Hungary
  • 2018 "Light Forms" solo exhibition, TAP Centre for Creativity, London ON
  • 2018 Solo exhibition, Galerie Luz, Montreal
  • 2017 SONY World Photography Awards winners and shortlist exhibition, London UK
  • 2016 Akasha Art Projects, solo exhibition, Toronto, Canada
  • 2015 Gallery 50, group exhibition, Toronto, Canada
  • 2014 Agora Gallery, group exhibition, Chelsea, NY, USA
  • 2014 Galleria 814, solo exhibition, Toronto, Canada
  • 2013 Galeria Schody, solo exhibition, Warsaw, Poland

Awards & Distinctions

  • 2023 Nominee, International Color Awards
  • 2022 2nd Place, Nature - Other Category Winner, ND Awards
  • 2022 2nd Place, Special Category Winner, International Photography Awards
  • 2022 Grand Prize Winner, ROOTS Art Competition, See Me
  • 2022 Honorable Mention, Emerge Art Competition, See Me
  • 2021 Nominee, International Color Awards
  • 2021 Honorable Mention, International Photography Awards
  • 2020 Nominee, Fine Art Photography Awards
  • 2020 Honorable Mention, International Color Awards
  • 2020 1st Place Science Category Winner, Tokyo International Foto Awards
  • 2020 Honorable Mention, ND Awards
  • 2020 2nd Place, Special Category Winner, International Photography Awards
  • 2020 Nominee, International Color Awards
  • 2020 Story, Dodho Magazine
  • 2020 Photo of the Day, Smithsonian Magazine
  • 2019 1st Place Science Category Winner, Budapest International Photo Awards
  • 2019 Honorable Mention, Chromatic Awards
  • 2019 Honorable Mention, ND Awards
  • 2019 Winner, Emerging Photographer Fall, Photo District News
  • 2019 Honorable Mention, International Photography Awards
  • 2019 Three images, F-Stop Magazine #95
  • 2019 Nominee, International Color Awards
  • 2018 Honorable Mention, Chromatic Awards
  • 2018 Honorable Mention, ND Awards
  • 2018 Honorable Mention, International Photography Awards
  • 2018 Exhibition Grant Recipient, Ontario Arts Council
  • 2018 Project Grant Recipient, London Arts Council
  • 2018 Nominee, International Color Awards
  • 2018 Cover, F-Stop Magazine #87
  • 2017 Winner, 2nd Place, Canada National Award, SONY World Photography Awards
  • 2017 Shortlisted, Nature Category, SONY World Photography Awards
  • 2017 Shortlisted, D&AD Next Photographer Award, London UK
  • 2016 Winner, UNTAPPED Emerging Artist, The Artist Project, Toronto
  • 2016 Image, F-Stop Magazine #75
  • 2014 Honorable Mention, International Photography Awards
  • 2014 Image, Macro assignment story, National Geographic

Publications & Presentations

  • Featured images, PhotoED Magazine - Winter 2023 Digital Extra, Botanicals, pages 78-79
  • Licensed image, “Seeing Science. The Art of Making the Invisible Visible”, Jack Challoner, The MIT Press, October 2022
  • Licensed image, “How Scientists Visualize Things”, Jack Challoner, Quintessence, UK, Fall 2022
  • Feature, Science Dong-A Magazine, Seoul, South Korea, November issue, 2020, pages 25-30
  • Emerging Photographer, Photo District News Magazine, Fall 2019, pages 28-30
  • Featured Artist Issue, Dek Unu Magazine, October 2019
  • Art-Science Educational Blog Interview, Dassault Systems, Waltham, 2019
  • Image, Practical Magazine, UK, May 2017, pages 16-17
  • Image story, Faculty Magazine, 2017
  • Image, fotoMAGAZIN, Germany, 7, 2016, page 10
  • Documentary film “Ela’s Worlds”, 2015


  • Development of Light Forms photography technique since 2013
  • Over twenty years of research in the field of biochemistry
  • Forty five peer reviewed papers published in scientific journals
  • Three patents


  • Development of Light Forms photography using photoelastic gels since 2013
  • Warsaw Agricultural University, Warsaw, Poland - Ph.D., Biochemistry - 1984
  • Warsaw University, Warsaw, Poland - M.Sc., Biochemistry - 1978