They almost look like aerial photographs of glacial meltwater flowing into Icelandic lakes. But these are no fluvial waters. These are extreme macro close-ups of the human eye, taken by portrait photographer Markus Hofstätter.
The abstract nature and varied colors and textures are all part of the beauty of these images. Markus has been fascinated by eyes for many years but devised a method to capture even more close-up images. Markus tells DIYP that he started this project around 4 years ago and is finally ready to unveil it.
“When I shoot portraits, my main focus is always on the eyes. Eyes just attract and fascinate me,” says Markus. “I wanted to go closer and create a more abstract artwork. I started by buying the Laowa 25mm Ultra Macro lens. As explained in the video, I build a whole rig with macro focusing rails and a linear transition stage,” he explains.
Markus uses what he describes as a “Frankenstein-focusing rail set-up”. It weighs around 2 kilos by itself but allows him to make minute focusing adjustments at close quarters. That’s imperative when photographing so close to delicate objects such as eyes.
He also uses a very basic homemade headrest for the model to rest their chin on. It’s important that they stay as still as possible, as any minor movements can cause focusing issues. Admittedly, it doesn’t look like the most comfortable setup. However, Markus swears by it instead of using a more comfortable option. A softer surface, he reasons, would cause micro-movements that could blur the image.
In the end, Markus says that he’s “very happy with the outcome,” adding that “it was a lot of work, but for me, it was totally worth it. I love how these abstract eye photographs turned out on fine art prints.”
And DIYP loves how they turned out too. The video shows you some behind-the-scenes footage of how he shot them and some of the final images too.