It looks like a jellyfish or an insect or some microscopic creepy crawly, but it’s not.
These bizarre organisms are actually Portuguese Man O’ Wars. And they’re a lot like jellyfish.
Adventurous photographer, Aaron Ansarov has created a beautiful art collection, consisting of nearly 200 swirling, whirling photos of living Portuguese Man O’ Wars.
Take a look at a few of his photos below:
Read his take on how he created such interesting photos.
Why did you start photographing these creatures?
I began photographing these creatures after seeing how fascinating their colors, shapes and textures where.
Everyone would see these creatures and look at them in disgust which made me even more fascinated by
What did you learn about them in the process?
They are actually a colonial organism which means they are not just one being but four that live harmoniously
while sharing a single stomach. It was after discovering this fact that I felt they were showing me faces that I
could not recognize until I started mirroring them. Most of us recognize symmetrical objects . It’s in our nature.
So by mirroring them I found that magically there appeared recognizable objects. Some people immediately
would see faces of aliens, demons, angels. It’s fun to watch everyone’s reaction.
What’s one thing people should know about them?
Every creature is alive when photographed. My wife and I would go to the beach at certain times of day when
the winds and tide were right and the chances were greater to find them. We would make it a family outing. I
would play with my two children (2 and 3 years old) while my wife, Anna, would walk the beach finding perfect
specimens. With a little bit of seawater in a beer cooler she would find an average of 5 at a time and we would
bring them to our home studio a mile away. After about an hour of shooting, I would bring them back to the
same spot and put them back and let nature take it’s course.
How much post processing is done in Photoshop or other software?
My process is simple. Each file is imported into Apple’s Aperture editing program where minor adjustments in
exposure, contrast and vibrancy are made. They are then opened in Adobe’s Photoshop program where the
only thing that is done is they are copied, pasted and flipped to make the mirror effect. Some are flipped once
to give the face or spider look while others are flipped a second time to create beautiful patterns.