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Wednesday, April 16, 2014


The Eyes Have It: The Work Of Suren Manvelyan

Published 28 December 2012

It's easy to get lost in Suren Manvelyan's eyes.

Manvelyan, 36, is an Armenian photographer who's attracting quite a bit of attention for his sumptuous macro images of the human eye.

The photos, which reveal intricate contours and ridges and complex weblike structures, don't so much resemble eyes as they do images of extraterrestrial worlds taken by the Hubble telescope.

"We see thousands of eyes in our life but never suspect about the structure of the iris," Manvelyan tells RFE/RL. "It is very beautiful and astounding. The surface resembles the surface of other planets, with craters, rivers, and valleys. It looks like something from another world. Every time I photograph the eye, I feel myself traveling through the cosmos."

Manvelyan, who has a doctorate in theoretical physics, won't reveal his technique, saying only that "maybe every photographer tries to shoot eyes -- the windows of the soul. I am not an exception to this rule, but I was lucky enough to find an interesting way to do that."

Manvelyan has also focused on the eyes of animals, which he says pose particular difficulties. "Sometimes I need to work for an hour trying to catch the still moment," he says, stressing that no animals (or humans) are ever harmed during his studio sessions. (A few of his animal eyes are included in this gallery.)

As for his next project, Manvelyan says he'll continue with his eye portraits but is interested in exploring the more down-to-earth world of wedding photography.

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The eye of a husky dog

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The eye of a tiger python (albino)

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The eye of a horse