We all learned about the periodic table of elements in high school, but for most of us that’s where our knowledge of the elements ends. Japanese chemist and photographer R. Tanaka is showing the world just how beautiful the elements are with his fascinating set of elemental photographs.
The extreme close-ups of the elements show a seldom-seen world full of incredible shapes and unexpected colors. The crystalline structure of certain elements resembles trees, leaves, and other parts of the natural world at large.
Other elements resemble alien shapes or objects from a long-lost civilization. From sulfur to phosphorus to colorful bismuth, the elements are all amazingly detailed and surprisingly photogenic. These are the building blocks of our world, and they are far more complex and lovely than most of us realize.
Taken together, the series seems like a catalog of the most beautiful parts of our natural world. The gorgeous organic shapes are like the most intricate sculptures ever, captured in photographs to showcase their most delicate and ethereal qualities.