The Portuguese Man O' War is a remarkable colonial organism, made up of various highly specialized organisms called zooids. Aaron Ansarov's photographs capture the structures of these zooids and then mirror them, creating strange psychedelic images of these creatures.

Ansarov collects Man O' War that wash up on the beach and photographs them on a light table before carefully returning them to their watery homes. Here's how he explains his project and his decision to mirror the images after the fact:

Every beachgoer has seen them, avoided them in fear, and dismissed them as a nuisance. But what we unaware humans fail to realize is that these creatures are more incredible than we ever could have imagined. No form of manmade art can compare to the intricate, complex, and vibrant patterns seen in these portraits. These species are more ‘supranatural’ than we realize, and when viewed at a 1:1 ratio and mirrored, we finally can see how closely related they are to the universe around us. They are called zooids, a colonial animal that can only survive when connected with other zooids of a different nature.


You can see the rest of his Zooids series on his website, and order prints of the images.

Zooids [Ansarov Studios via Ian Brooks]


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