While working as a fisherman in Japan, Iori Tomita started experimenting with turning some of his catch into art. His crabs, fish, and other sea creatures end up brilliantly colored and completely transparent, so you can see each tiny detail of their insides. Tomita then photographs the oddly beautiful results.
“My motivation came from seeing a transparent specimen in a lecture during school,” Tomita says. “I was astonished at the fact that living things could take this kind of color and shape.”
He wanted to share the experience with others, and started experimenting with different dyes and enzymes to create brighter pink and blue specimens. “I wanted many people to know the beauty of living things, so I started creating original work,” Tomita says. “The specimens for research are made for the purpose of studying the skeleton, so they don’t necessarily have a beautifully refined appearance.”
Creating his aesthetic versions can take six months to a year. “I’m particular about the beauty of the transparency and shading, and I take care that the photographs of the work are able to really communicate the vibrancy of living things,” he says. “What I think of as a beautiful piece is a thing which communicates from an image of being alive.”
The photographs were published in a book called New World Transparent Specimens.