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Photographer Michael Kern has been drawn to reptiles, amphibians and arachnids since childhood – but he soon recognised that his passion was not one that everyone shares. ‘A lot of people are unable to get past their primeval fears,’ he says, ‘which begs the question: how do we conserve these fascinating animals?’

By experimenting with his images, Kern discovered that he could turn peoples’ fear into fascination. ‘First, I deconstruct my images to the most basic elements of form, colour, and texture,’ he says. ‘Then I create kaleidoscopic interpretations by cropping, mirroring, and rotating aspects of the original image. The result is a pair of portraits: one abstract, one reality. I use these images to show the beauty of the animals, without the form that creates fear and prejudice. I hope that by doing so, I can help people to appreciate the creatures themselves, and perhaps take a first step towards protecting them.’

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Kaleidoscope pattern formed from picture of Greenbottle blue tarantula (Chromatopelma cyaneopubescens) - see original image number 01482830 EMBARGOED FOR NAT GEO UNTIL the end of 2015 - Michael  D. Kern
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Michael D. Kern / Kaleidoscope pattern formed from picture of Greenbottle blue tarantula (Chromatopelma cyaneopubescens) - see original image number 01482830 EMBARGOED FOR NAT GEO UNTIL the end of 2015
Greenbottle blue tarantula (Chromatopelma cyaneopubescens), captive, from Venezuela - Michael  D. Kern
01482830
Michael D. Kern / Greenbottle blue tarantula (Chromatopelma cyaneopubescens), captive, from Venezuela
Dart Frog Kaleidoscope pattern formed from picture of Blue poison dart frog (Dendrobates auratus) EMBARGOED FOR NAT GEO UNTIL the end of 2015 - Michael  D. Kern
01471830
Michael D. Kern / Dart Frog Kaleidoscope pattern formed from picture of Blue poison dart frog (Dendrobates auratus) EMBARGOED FOR NAT GEO UNTIL the end of 2015
Green and black Poison Dart Frog {Dendrobates auratus} captive, from rainforests of Central America - Michael D. Kern
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Michael D. Kern / Green and black Poison Dart Frog {Dendrobates auratus} captive, from rainforests of Central America
Kaleidoscope image formed from photograph of Western green mamba (Dendroapsis viridis). EMBARGOED FOR NAT GEO UNTIL the end of 2015 - Michael  D. Kern
01499521
Michael D. Kern / Kaleidoscope image formed from photograph of Western green mamba (Dendroapsis viridis). EMBARGOED FOR NAT GEO UNTIL the end of 2015
Western green mamba snakes {Dendroaspis viridis} captive, Eastern Africa - Michael D. Kern
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Michael D. Kern / Western green mamba snakes {Dendroaspis viridis} captive, Eastern Africa
Kaleidoscope pattern formed from picture of Panther Chameleon (Furcifer pardalis) scales. Restricted for Editorial use until December 2015 - Michael  D. Kern
01471818
Michael D. Kern / Kaleidoscope pattern formed from picture of Panther Chameleon (Furcifer pardalis) scales. Restricted for Editorial use until December 2015
Panther chameleon (Furcifer pardalis) captive, from Madagascar - Michael  D. Kern
01482823
Michael D. Kern / Panther chameleon (Furcifer pardalis) captive, from Madagascar
Blue-and-yellow Macaw (Ara ararauna)  feather against black background. - Michael  D. Kern
01471792
Michael D. Kern / Blue-and-yellow Macaw (Ara ararauna) feather against black background.
Kaleidoscope pattern formed from picture of Blue-and-yellow Macaw (Ara ararauna) feathers. EMBARGOED FOR NAT GEO UNTIL the end of 2015 - Michael  D. Kern
01471834
Michael D. Kern / Kaleidoscope pattern formed from picture of Blue-and-yellow Macaw (Ara ararauna) feathers. EMBARGOED FOR NAT GEO UNTIL the end of 2015
Kaleidoscope pattern formed from picture of Brazilian Pinkbloom tarantula (Pamphobeteus platyomma). See 1499518 for original. EMBARGOED FOR NAT GEO UNTIL the end of 2015 - Michael  D. Kern
01499522
Michael D. Kern / Kaleidoscope pattern formed from picture of Brazilian Pinkbloom tarantula (Pamphobeteus platyomma). See 1499518 for original. EMBARGOED FOR NAT GEO UNTIL the end of 2015
Brazilian pinkbloom tarantula (Pamphobeteus platyomma) reflected on surface, captive occurs in Brazil. - Michael  D. Kern
01499518
Michael D. Kern / Brazilian pinkbloom tarantula (Pamphobeteus platyomma) reflected on surface, captive occurs in Brazil.
Kaleidoscope pattern formed from picture of Rainbow Millipede (Aulacobolus rubropunctatus) Restricted for Editorial use until December 2015 - Michael  D. Kern
01471816
Michael D. Kern / Kaleidoscope pattern formed from picture of Rainbow Millipede (Aulacobolus rubropunctatus) Restricted for Editorial use until December 2015
Rainbow millipede (Aulacobolus rubropunctatus) captive - Michael D. Kern
01295835
Michael D. Kern / Rainbow millipede (Aulacobolus rubropunctatus) captive
Kaleidoscope pattern formed from picture of Leaf Tail Gecko (Uroplatus lineatus) legs and tongue cleaning eye. Restricted for Editorial use until December 2015 - Michael  D. Kern
01471822
Michael D. Kern / Kaleidoscope pattern formed from picture of Leaf Tail Gecko (Uroplatus lineatus) legs and tongue cleaning eye. Restricted for Editorial use until December 2015
Leaf tailed gecko (Uroplatus lineatus) captive from Madagascar - Michael D. Kern
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Michael D. Kern / Leaf tailed gecko (Uroplatus lineatus) captive from Madagascar
Kaleidoscope pattern formed from picture of Common iguana (Iguana iguana) - see original image number 01482835 EMBARGOED FOR NAT GEO UNTIL the end of 2015 - Michael  D. Kern
01482834
Michael D. Kern / Kaleidoscope pattern formed from picture of Common iguana (Iguana iguana) - see original image number 01482835 EMBARGOED FOR NAT GEO UNTIL the end of 2015
Common iguana (Iguana iguana), captive, from Central and South America - Michael  D. Kern
01482835
Michael D. Kern / Common iguana (Iguana iguana), captive, from Central and South America
Kaleidoscope pattern formed from picture of Wagler's Temple Viper (Tropidolaemus wagleri) scales. Restricted for Editorial use until December 2015 - Michael  D. Kern
01471805
Michael D. Kern / Kaleidoscope pattern formed from picture of Wagler's Temple Viper (Tropidolaemus wagleri) scales. Restricted for Editorial use until December 2015
Waglers Temple viper snake {Tropidolaemus wagleri} captive, occurs Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia - Michael D. Kern
01173495
Michael D. Kern / Waglers Temple viper snake {Tropidolaemus wagleri} captive, occurs Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia
Kaleidoscope pattern formed from picture of Bearded Dragon (Pogona vitticeps) EMBARGOED FOR NAT GEO UNTIL the end of 2015 - Michael  D. Kern
01482833
Michael D. Kern / Kaleidoscope pattern formed from picture of Bearded Dragon (Pogona vitticeps) EMBARGOED FOR NAT GEO UNTIL the end of 2015
Bearded dragon (Pogona vitticeps) sticking out tongue, captive, occurs in Australia. Available for on-line use only. - Michael  D. Kern
01484490
Michael D. Kern / Bearded dragon (Pogona vitticeps) sticking out tongue, captive, occurs in Australia. Available for on-line use only.
Kaleidoscope pattern formed from picture of Peruvian blonde tarantula (Lasiodora polycuspulatus) - see original image number 01482832 EMBARGOED FOR NAT GEO UNTIL the end of 2015 - Michael  D. Kern
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Michael D. Kern / Kaleidoscope pattern formed from picture of Peruvian blonde tarantula (Lasiodora polycuspulatus) - see original image number 01482832 EMBARGOED FOR NAT GEO UNTIL the end of 2015
Peruvian Blonde tarantula (Lasiodora polycuspulatus), captive female. - Michael  D. Kern
01482832
Michael D. Kern / Peruvian Blonde tarantula (Lasiodora polycuspulatus), captive female.
Kaleidoscope pattern formed from picture of Poison Dart Frog (Dendrobates tinctoruis) EMBARGOED FOR NAT GEO UNTIL the end of 2015 - Michael  D. Kern
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Michael D. Kern / Kaleidoscope pattern formed from picture of Poison Dart Frog (Dendrobates tinctoruis) EMBARGOED FOR NAT GEO UNTIL the end of 2015
Two Dyeing dart frogs (Dendrobates tinctorius) against background, captive occurs in Guyana, Suriname, Brazil, and  French Guiana. Available for on-line use only. - Michael  D. Kern
01484489
Michael D. Kern / Two Dyeing dart frogs (Dendrobates tinctorius) against background, captive occurs in Guyana, Suriname, Brazil, and French Guiana. Available for on-line use only.
Kaleidoscope pattern formed from picture of an Eyelash viper (Bothriechis schlegelii) EMBARGOED FOR NAT GEO UNTIL the end of 2015 - Michael  D. Kern
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Michael D. Kern / Kaleidoscope pattern formed from picture of an Eyelash viper (Bothriechis schlegelii) EMBARGOED FOR NAT GEO UNTIL the end of 2015
Eyelash Viper (Bothriechis schlegelii), captive, from Central and South America - Michael D. Kern
01395832
Michael D. Kern / Eyelash Viper (Bothriechis schlegelii), captive, from Central and South America
Kaleidoscope pattern formed from picture of Johnstons Chameleon (Chamaeleo johnstoni) face and legs. Restricted for Editorial use until December 2015 - Michael  D. Kern
01471823
Michael D. Kern / Kaleidoscope pattern formed from picture of Johnstons Chameleon (Chamaeleo johnstoni) face and legs. Restricted for Editorial use until December 2015
Johnstons Chameleon (Chamaeleo johnstoni) Uganda - Michael D. Kern
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Michael D. Kern / Johnstons Chameleon (Chamaeleo johnstoni) Uganda
Kaleidoscope pattern formed from picture of Spiny Flower Mantis (Pseudocreobotra wahlbergii), pink form. Restricted for Editorial use until December 2015 - Michael  D. Kern
01471811
Michael D. Kern / Kaleidoscope pattern formed from picture of Spiny Flower Mantis (Pseudocreobotra wahlbergii), pink form. Restricted for Editorial use until December 2015
Spiny flower mantis (Pseudocreobotra wahlbergii) captive, from South and East Africa. - Michael  D. Kern
01482821
Michael D. Kern / Spiny flower mantis (Pseudocreobotra wahlbergii) captive, from South and East Africa.
Kaleidoscope pattern formed from picture of Eastern Rosella (Platycercus eximius) tail feathers.  Restricted for Editorial use until December 2015 - Michael  D. Kern
01471815
Michael D. Kern / Kaleidoscope pattern formed from picture of Eastern Rosella (Platycercus eximius) tail feathers. Restricted for Editorial use until December 2015
Eastern Rosella (Platycercus eximius) tail feather. - Michael  D. Kern
01501720
Michael D. Kern / Eastern Rosella (Platycercus eximius) tail feather.
Kaleidoscope pattern formed from picture of Popes Tree Viper (Trimeresurus popeorum) scales. Restricted for Editorial use until December 2015 - Michael  D. Kern
01471817
Michael D. Kern / Kaleidoscope pattern formed from picture of Popes Tree Viper (Trimeresurus popeorum) scales. Restricted for Editorial use until December 2015
Popes tree viper (Trimeresurus popeorum) captive occurs in Asia. Small reproduction only. - Michael  D. Kern
01501718
Michael D. Kern / Popes tree viper (Trimeresurus popeorum) captive occurs in Asia. Small reproduction only.
Kaleidoscope pattern formed from picture of Veiled Chameleon (Chamaeleo calyptratus) scales and face. Restricted for Editorial use until December 2015 - Michael  D. Kern
01471808
Michael D. Kern / Kaleidoscope pattern formed from picture of Veiled Chameleon (Chamaeleo calyptratus) scales and face. Restricted for Editorial use until December 2015
Veiled Chameleon (Chamaeleo calyptratus) captive, from Saudi Arabia and Yemen - Michael  D. Kern
01482819
Michael D. Kern / Veiled Chameleon (Chamaeleo calyptratus) captive, from Saudi Arabia and Yemen
Kaleidoscope pattern formed from picture of Iguana (Iguana iguana) spines. Restricted for Editorial use until December 2015 - Michael  D. Kern
01471824
Michael D. Kern / Kaleidoscope pattern formed from picture of Iguana (Iguana iguana) spines. Restricted for Editorial use until December 2015
Common iguana (Iguana iguana) albino, captive, from Central and South America - Michael D. Kern
01395867
Michael D. Kern / Common iguana (Iguana iguana) albino, captive, from Central and South America
Kaleidoscope pattern formed from picture of Victoria crowned pigeon (Goura victoria) crest feathers. Restricted for Editorial use until December 2015 - Michael  D. Kern
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Michael D. Kern / Kaleidoscope pattern formed from picture of Victoria crowned pigeon (Goura victoria) crest feathers. Restricted for Editorial use until December 2015
Feather of Victoria crowned pigeon (Goura victoria) - Michael  D. Kern
01482818
Michael D. Kern / Feather of Victoria crowned pigeon (Goura victoria)
Kaleidoscope image formed from photograph of Bush viper (Atheris squamigera). See 01499520 for the original. Restricted for editorial use until December 2015. - Michael  D. Kern
01499519
Michael D. Kern / Kaleidoscope image formed from photograph of Bush viper (Atheris squamigera). See 01499520 for the original. Restricted for editorial use until December 2015.
Bush viper (Atheris squamigera) captive, occurs in West and Central Africa. - Michael  D. Kern
01499520
Michael D. Kern / Bush viper (Atheris squamigera) captive, occurs in West and Central Africa.
Kaleidoscope pattern formed from picture of head and legs of Abbot's Angle Headed Lizard (Gonocephalus doriae). EMBARGOED FOR NAT GEO UNTIL the end of 2015 - Michael  D. Kern
01471837
Michael D. Kern / Kaleidoscope pattern formed from picture of head and legs of Abbot's Angle Headed Lizard (Gonocephalus doriae). EMBARGOED FOR NAT GEO UNTIL the end of 2015
Angle headed lizard (Gonocephalus doriae) captive, occurs in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand. - Michael  D. Kern
01482827
Michael D. Kern / Angle headed lizard (Gonocephalus doriae) captive, occurs in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand.
Kaleidoscope pattern formed from picture of Centipede (Chilopoda sp) EMBARGOED FOR NAT GEO UNTIL the end of 2015 - Michael  D. Kern
01471831
Michael D. Kern / Kaleidoscope pattern formed from picture of Centipede (Chilopoda sp) EMBARGOED FOR NAT GEO UNTIL the end of 2015
Centipede (Chilopoda sp) showing legs as it climbs over wood. Available for on-line use only. - Michael  D. Kern
01484491
Michael D. Kern / Centipede (Chilopoda sp) showing legs as it climbs over wood. Available for on-line use only.
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