Alien Landscapes: Macro Photography of the Human Eye

The human eye is an exquisitely complicated organ. Not only are they capable of processing information at incredible speeds; they can also focus much faster than any camera on the market today.

It is truly breathtaking to consider.

Were you aware that our eyes are composed of more than 2 million working parts and can process about 36,000 bits of information every hour? It’s true.

Eyes are one of the most complex systems in existence and the most vital of the sensory inputs, accounting for 80 percent of all the information your brain receives. But its origin is among the least understood, despite the notion that each atom in each cell was formed in the core of a star billions of years ago.

Each eye is allegedly composed of 130 million photoreceptor cells. In each one of these cells, there are about 100 trillion atoms — that’s more than the stars in the Milky Way galaxy. Under the right conditions, the human eye can see the light of a candle at a distance of 14 miles.

Photographer Suren Manvelyan’s macro images of the human eye are just as mesmerizing as looking at stars, nebulae and galaxies within our universe.

The mix of intricate details in his photographs, including the depth of the pupils, layers, lines and patterns of the irises, and the light reflecting off the cornea, appear to be alien landscapes, distant lands we have never set foot on.

In order to achieve such extreme close-ups, Manvelyan says that the biggest challenge is getting the focus exactly right. “It must be very precise,” he says.

Everyone has a different structure of lines, dots and colors in their iris. Looking at the magnificent structure and diversity of the irises in the slideshow above, we can’t help but believe that the eyes really are the windows to the soul.

Yale University psychologists recently argued that eye structure and personality could be linked, since the genes responsible for the development of the iris also plays a role in shaping part of the frontal lobe of the brain.