A compelling photograph can change us.
It can challenge assumptions, make room for new ideas, and expand our curiosity.
From the lifecycle of a jellyfish to the inside of a chicken egg, Anand is combining science and storytelling to capture images and videos that showcase beauty and complexity often invisible to the naked eye.
Education and Mentorship
WonderLab serves as an incubator for ideas and talent by offering mentorship and education opportunities for aspiring scientists and storytellers.
WonderLab Learning Resources, a digital collection of online educational resources inspired by Anand’s work, invites educators and youth “to slow down and look for those mysteries hiding in plain sight.” The aim is to help cultivate the mindset of an Explorer, which includes curiosity, empathy, empowerment, problem-solving, and storytelling.
With WonderLab, Anand and the National Geographic Society aim to demonstrate how science coupled with stunning visual storytelling sparks curiosity and creates a deeper connection to our natural world.
In order to inspire wonder and curiosity about the world in young minds, the video series “I Wonder” follows Anand on his journey to develop a new way of documenting a fascinating scientific phenomenon: the life cycle of cephalopods such as bobtail squid and flamboyant cuttlefish.
How to Capture a Hummingbird Mid-Flight
Behind the Wonder
In Anand Varma’s hands, a camera is not just a tool to capture what he sees—it’s a way to illuminate the layers of beauty and complexity that are otherwise hidden from view. Armed with a degree in integrative biology, he has devoted years of his life to developing innovative techniques—even building some of his own equipment—to create intimate, dramatic and surprising images of nature. His ultimate goal: to spark a sense of wonder about our world. Through his work, Anand highlights creatures whose incredible details typically go unseen, and discovers new stories behind the science along the way.
From the secret life cycle of the honeybee to the lightning-fast behaviors of hummingbirds, his images slow down the fast, speed up the slow and magnify the miniature to reveal life at the edge of our perception. He is a National Geographic Explorer and award-winning photographer based in Berkeley, California.
Photo credits (from top of page): Anand Varma, Mike Parmelee, Anand Varma (4), Mark Thiessen, Mark Unger, Mark Thiessen, Mark Unger, Mark Thiessen, Anand Varma (3)