Fine art photographer Aaron Ansarov‘s project Zooids contains beautiful, colorful, and abstract images that might look to you like something biological seen through a microscope. They’re actually macro portraits of the Portuguese Man O’ War, a jellyfish-like creature that is responsible for 10,000 documented painful stings worldwide.
Ansarov collects the creatures after they wash up onto a beach near his home in Delray Beach, Florida.
He then takes them to his studio, places them on a light table, and photographs them with a macro lens at a 1:1 ratio. The light from below helps to illuminate the creatures and bring out their dazzling colors.
No, Portuguese Man O’ War aren’t naturally perfectly symmetrical. After capturing his photographs, Ansarov digitally mirrors them to create his finished works.
After the photo shoots, Ansarov loads the animals back into a cooler and returns them to the sea.
You can find more (and larger) photographs from Zooids: Faces of Tiny Warriors on Ansarov’s website. He’s also selling prints of the photographs for those of you who would like to see these images grace your walls.
Image credits: Photographs by Aaron Ansarov and used with permission