Macro Photographer Captures Eye-mazing Portraits Showcasing the Swirling Beauty of the Iris

Eye Photography by Giannina Roche

The eyes have a mystical quality to them. We refer to them as the “windows to the soul” and look into them to know someone’s true feelings. Photographer Giannina Roche is entranced by eyes and has dedicated her creative practice to capturing their beauty. She photographs macro shots of eyes, showcasing the varied and swirling colors of the iris. Placed against a black background, the eyes appear as abstract art rather than a photo.

Roche was moved to start photographing the eye because of her family. “I was inspired by the need to remember small little details of the people I love the most,” she tells My Modern Met, “little parts of my babies' bodies and my husband's incredible eyes.”

This body part has always been a source of intrigue for Roche. “I have brown eyes and so did everyone in my family; growing up in Paraguay, light eyes were kind of rare,” she shares. “So I always curious about it.”

It took Roche years to successfully shoot the iris in a way that does justice to the eye. “The process for capturing irises is a lot like any other process in macro photography,” she explains. Correct lighting is the “trickiest” part because of the reflections and glare. Roche also has to contend with other parts of the body that may get in the way. “You have other battles to fight like droopy eyelids, wandering eyes,” she says. “It's difficult because you can have a stable head but the eye still has a mind of its own and obviously any movement causes blur.”

She continues, “Eyes are also different and depending on the age, the health, etc, there are some things we have to battle. Like white rings around the iris, irises that aren't round (more like an egg shape, maybe it’s the eyeball itself), pupils that aren’t round, older eyes fade with age too. Who knew there was so much going on in there!”

Roche is so passionate about photographing eyes that she’s opened a photography studio and iris art gallery in Destin, Florida. Called Eye Wonder, you can view portraits of eyes and get yours photographed, too.

Photographer Giannina Roche uses macro photography to capture beautiful portraits of irises of the eye.

Eye Photography by Giannina Roche

Eye Photography by Giannina Roche

Eye Photography by Giannina Roche

Eye Photography by Giannina Roche

Eye Photography by Giannina Roche

Eye Photography by Giannina Roche

Here's a behind-the-scenes look at one of her photographs.


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A post shared by Eye Wonder (@eye_wonder_florida)

Eye Wonder: Website | Instagram | Facebook

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Giannina Roche.

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Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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