These Crazy Photos Reveal The Hidden World Of Clear Water

Israeli artist Moses Hacmon displays a hidden, beautiful world of water by recording its detailed movement as still images.

Water is the most basic resource on the planet. But how often do we stop to consider it in its elemental form?


With “The Faces of Water,” Israeli artist Moses Hacmon has given us that opportunity by capturing the beauty of water in a way never done before: recording its detailed movement as still images.

The images are not under a microscope and there isn’t any digital processing involved. They are simply beautiful representations of water itself–the same liquid you shower under or sip from a cup.

Hacmon began the project because, one day, while looking at a glass of water, he realized he could not see it. “All the objects I see are visible to me because light reflects on their surface. In the case of water, light passes through water as if it wasn’t there,” he says. “Now comes the question: What does water really look like? What form does it take as it is moving?”

To accomplish this feat, Hacmon created a nanoparticle film with a layer of liquid iron, which he then developed. Normally, he says, a silver film captures light–a problem because water is transparent and light either completely reflects or completely passes through. His liquid iron film registers waters’ movements instead. Hacmon spent more than 10 years studying the motion of water and developing his technique.

Now, with the project ready, he’s working to crowdfund some larger 4-by-8-foot prints so he can do a public exhibit and make it available to schools and organizations for educational programs about water and the role it has in “shaping our lives.”

“When you see with your own eyes that water is not just a passive element you can get a deeper understanding of nature’s behavior,” he says. He makes a good point that while countless organizations are dedicated to water causes, it is hard for them to engage the people who take water for granted because they already have running toilets and faucets. “I hope with my work to give water an identity we can relate to,” he says.


Right now, Hacmon is at two-thirds of his $23,000 goal, and you can get some small stickers or prints if you contribute here. If you live in Los Angeles, where Hacmon lives now, you can attend his presentation at the end of the month.

About the author

Jessica Leber is a staff editor and writer for Fast Company's Co.Exist. Previously, she was a business reporter for MIT’s Technology Review and an environmental reporter at ClimateWire.