The Vibrant Patterns of Portuguese Men-of-War

By Megan Gambino

Photos © Aaron Ansarov

Aaron Ansarov experienced some depression after retiring from his post as a military photographer in 2007. But, one of the things that made him happy was walking in his backyard with his son, pointing out beetles, salamanders, praying mantis and other creepy crawlies. “One day, he just said, ‘Daddy, let’s take pictures of them,’” says Ansarov. “That just never occurred to me. That’s when everything changed.”

Ansarov, who lives in Delray Beach, Florida, has three children: a 12-year-old, a 3-year-old and a 2-year-old. He transitioned from photojournalism to commercial photography and fine art, and in the process, he says, he has followed one simple rule—to look at things through the eyes of a child.

“It is very tough as adults, because we get bored. We see things over and over and they are no longer as fascinating to us as they were when we were a child,” says the photographer. “All I try to do is to force myself to see things freshly.”

After exploring his backyard (National Geographic is featuring his “My Backyard” series in a four-page spread in its June 2013 issue), Ansarov turned to the beach, about a mile from his home. There, he became captivated with Portuguese men-of-war.

Continue reading at Smithsonian.com.

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