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Primordial Soup by gyaban Primordial Soup by gyaban
All the photos and editing by me, no stock.

Defining life is a complex question, and quite controversial as well. A commonly accepted definition can be put as follows (according to Wikipedia): "Life is a characteristic that distinguishes objects that have signaling and self-sustaining processes from those that do not, either because such functions have ceased (death), or else because they lack such functions and are classified as inanimate". Of course, those "signaling and self-sustaining processes" would need to be precised, which is even harder to do, as many entities are along a grey line regarding the implied physiological functions (for example viruses and other replicators, various hybrids, artificial/mechanical life, etc.)

Regardless of those considerations, the origin of life is a fascinating question. When I was a kid, I heard at school about the infamous Miller–Urey experiment, also known as the "Primitive Soup" experiment: it probably entirely changed my vision of life. Simply put, basic components (water, methane, ammonia, hydrogen) were put in a flask, and electric sparks were fired to simulate lightning: after a few days, organic compounds were present. Of course, I am no chemist nor biologist, so details are beyond my understanding, but the idea that there is a recipe for life is, again, fascinating to me: put the right ingredients in the right pot, wait a bit, and tadaaaa! Life appears. It is almost like creating "something" from "nothing". The Holy Grail of any artist ;-)

Of course, abiogenesis (which is how this process is called) can be disturbing to some, as it desecrates life, considering that it is a logical and mechanical consequence of the appropriate starting conditions. Life would not be that special after all. Personally, I like this idea a lot, as it is a humble approach of the importance of our own existence, as human beings. After all, our species believed once that Earth was the center of the universe, while we now know it is an insignificant dust lost in the immensity. Similarly, I tend to think that human beings are nothing that special, merely the result of a mechanism started a few billions years ago. I do realize this vision may not be necessarily shared by everyone, but I wanted to express that point of view in my "Primitive Soup" image.

I must say I had great fun creating it. Everything started Saturday July 27th 2013 around 6.00am. My wife and I were awakened by thunder and lightnings. The large droplets of rain were hitting the windows loudly, and after a few minutes, she said to me: "You should go take some lighting photos, these could be useful for the next project". A few minutes later, I was standing half-naked in front of our house, with the camera on a tripod, asking myself what I was doing here. The storm was almost over, but I managed to obtain a couple of shots. While doing so, contemplating the electricity in the sky reminded me that Primitive Soup experiment: this is the moment I decided to create an illustration of that concept.

In the afternoon, I wanted to shoot underwater photos. However, I do not have a housing for my DSLR, nor any waterproof camera. So I took an empty 50 liters aquarium I have at home, and put my camera in it. Then I stepped into the river next to my house, and used the aquarium as a little submarine: worked like a charm! The photos were mostly muddy and blurry, but it was exactly what I needed texture-wise.

Then, back at home, I installed the aquarium in my garden, brought some studio strobes, in order to shoot various photos of black ink sinking into water. Quite an easy setup, and the shapes you get are remarkable. I created the left leg combining several of these photos. The day after, I posed in my studio for the emerging human trunk. I covered myself with mud and water: an interesting experience ;-) Finally, the right leg was created using bread dough, either stretched by hand, or installed on metallic wires to mimic morphological shapes. My wife was of a great help on that: she designed the pseudo-DNA helix as well as the calf part.

I am very happy I was able to translate my thoughts into that image. Of course, it is obviously not at all a realistic approach, rather a digested vision of my mind. I hope some will find it interesting. In any case, thanks for watching, I appreciate your attention a lot.

ETA: Oh wow, thank you very much for the Daily Deviation! I am so very proud of it :-)
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Daily Deviation

Given 2013-08-07
Primordial Soup by *gyaban is simply jaw-dropping. Please take a moment to read the artist's comments about how this incredible image came to be. While every deviation in this artist's gallery is remarkable, this one truly stands out with its uniqueness and powerful concept. Stunning! ( Suggested by KeinZantezuken and Featured by Aeirmid )
that looks... painful....
i0like0dank0memes Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2018
what the fuck
saltnpepperjack Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2017
Very powerful: emotive and thought provoking - thank you for giving the background too
shebeast2 Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2017
amazing concept very well done x love it
Toy---Soldier Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2017  Hobbyist Artist
Truly incredible concept and execution
MikuHatGaming2017 Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2016
Ow, Mate, somethings wrong with your legs
Darennysmith Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2016
I really love this piece of art. Really.
And the explanation... As a big science fan, i love it even more!
Thank you for your hard work!
dakotajdawson Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2016  Student Writer
Very good.
Saurial Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
One of the best i've seen like... ever
rainacornucopia Featured By Owner Feb 29, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Always amazed by a glimpse Into the mind of an artist:)  
VoodooHammer Featured By Owner May 14, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
This work is astounding. I am in complete awe of your vision and talent.
BrennsArtAttic Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
:wave: Featured in my journal
marglegod Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2014
Wow!! I really liked learning about your creation process and how many different components went into making this one image.
BrennsArtAttic Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
:clap: very well done, looks so real :wow:
GoldMist Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2014  Student Digital Artist
frenchfox Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2014
Outstanding ! :clap:
betagore Featured By Owner Mar 23, 2014
It may not be a realistic approach but if illustrates the beauty of what time and evolution can accomplish. 
Angie-Pictures Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2014
Amazing work! Congratulations on the DD! :iconflowerheartplz:

marlonreyes Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2013
mimikascraftroom Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2013   Digital Artist
Absolutely amazing work!! Congrats!!!
LectorCuldera Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2013
This is absolutely stunning.  I am amazed that you  did this with only a little photo-manipulation. You have created a magnificent masterpiece with so much depth. Thank you.
gustavopollos Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
what a nice pic! Good job!
A-hardie Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2013
Inspired by Prometheus right?
half-rose Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Your art and you description is simply amazing...This makes me sit and just wonder about life...simply amazing.
Royle-McCulloch Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This reminds me of Prometheus.
Cinnamoncandy Featured By Owner Aug 11, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You have been featured.… :heart:
lucindeh Featured By Owner Aug 11, 2013
Kalos-Kagathos Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2013
What a creative work of art this is.Genius!
ObsidianDrw Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2013
wierd but also very emotional
it makes you think how short is the life...
WickedCAT Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2013
DisplacedSoutherner Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
ok creepiness
iblisregime Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2013
Great from Munich, Germany.
rocan1979 Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2013  Professional General Artist
Reminds me of Prometheus pretty cool man!
FastestFalcon Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2013
Gross but awesome!
musziqLuvher Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2013  Professional Photographer
I share your vision. I think most of us, as humans, put far too much importance to our own existence in comparison to other species. We're very self-centered, but I suppose that's part of the "human condition".
An aquarium as a submarine. Ha, that's amazing. I don't think I would have come up with that.
MetalWolfGemstone Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Amazing! So much emotion in this! :clap: And congratulations on the Daily Deviation! You really deserve it!
salmaimn Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2013
reminds me of that big guy from the Prometheus movie (with N.Rapace) 
BoraNera Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2013
Wow, this is crazy amazing!! Really original and expressive, I love it! :D
Poetsiren Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2013
First thing I noticed: that it looks like the start of a helical DNA chain in the bottom left. Neat!
..... but... ughhh... I clicked to view your image because it looked like a merman, hahahaha! 

FYI- all living things are, at their base, a variation of arrangements of the element Carbon (among others), which is the most common element in life on Earth. (Water is an arrangement of elements = H2O. And "Organic Chemistry" is the study of the variations of arrangements Carbon can make and found in life - which is a reason I get mad when something sold is specifically categorized as "ORGANIC." Anywho....) Carbon is what the "Primitive Soup" experiment was using at its premise, the building blocks of life. Carbon dating used in archaeology can determine the rate of decay in found artifacts and the deceased, since Carbon degrades at a set rate, and counting the element can tell the age of the artifact/being as it has broken down. The other components used in the experiment (ie ammonia, water, hydrogen broken down into their base elements) provided the other common elements found in life. The result of the experiment was amino acids - which are not only necessary for biological function and metabolism, they are the building blocks to proteins, which, I'm sure you know one of the main purposes of proteins.....

AND that concludes my unintentional rant, lol. Sorry. But I am sure this was much easier to understand than anything your would find on wikipedia, LOL!!
EKKnight Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
blanket86 Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
This is so amazing. I love this style. Great work!
ein-noy-ing Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2013
Twilight16Master Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
I read in Jehova's Witness material that the Primordial Soup experiment never worked... which I guess was a lie. huh. also, I rather think there is nothing humbling or unspecial about it at all! :D think about it; that tiny chance of things being just right, a fine-tuning if you will, created out of itself the most unlikely of scenarios -- the creation and sustaining of LIFE! <3

I think it's rather magnificent that Life came from a Primordial Soup. ^_^ but then again, I tend to look at the world through a different lens than most folks. :)
truptimagic Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2013  Professional Filmographer
this is just Stunning...!!

RedDolch Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Personally I think it looks great even though as you say it is not realistically what happens in "Primitive Soup". The image itself is compelling and well put together. Originally I thought it might have been CG or digitally painted in parts, but did not expect that it is just an amazingly done Photo Manipulation. I must agree with you on your view of the theory as well but I also believe that there is something more than science out there. Maybe there is a "God" out there and science was just his tool for creation rather than thoughts or words that so many religions believe. But all of that is up for debate and this is not the venue for it. Thank you for sharing your vision with the rest of us.Heart 
Kooky4U Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This is so...dark...yet so enthralling. It makes me appreciate how lucky we humans are that life exists, period. And your description really adds to that feeling. :wow:
BLUEvsFIN Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2013
I read the whole description, wow that was long, but it was very interesting, and it sounded like a fun project. :)
KeplerNova Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
That's brilliant! :D
AngelitaDelaCruz Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2013  Professional General Artist
A-MA-ZING duo (You  your wife).PhotoPhenom avatar 
gerardodesign Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2013
ahhh que dolor!
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August 3, 2013
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