Artistic Anatomy: Dye Reveals Inner Beauty of Marine Life

The anatomical structures of all sorts of marine creatures, from puffer fish to sting rays, is revealed using two dyes that stain certain parts to make them stand out. Professor Adam Summers uses blue dye to make cartilage stand out and red to reveal tissue in specimens collected from fishing operations.

After staining the (dead) specimens, Summers bleaches them so the dyed parts stand out, and dips them in glycerin. They’re then placed o a color-corrected LED light table, posed and photographed.

The resulting images depict these creatures as we’ve never seen them before, turning them into amazing works of art in vivid shades of red, pink, purple, blue and turquoise. Tiny details of their anatomy are exposed, from the scales to the gills.

The images are on display at the Seattle Aquarium in 14 large format prints on aluminum plates, each companied by a poem inspired by the image, written by Sierra Nelson. Learn more about the process at Summers’ website, Picturing Science.

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