These Photos Look Like The Edge Of The Galaxy, But They’re Actually Much Closer

Glowing, circular objects appear in dark space. They vary in color from deep pinks and fiery oranges to cool blues and violets. Their surfaces appear as rippled with light-catching features like mountains, valleys, and clouds. No, these aren’t images of nebulae from deep space, nor are they images of planets and moons in our own solar system. They’re much closer to home, and much smaller.

These are the photographs of Ernie Button, a Phoenix-based photographer with subjects varying from landscapes to cityscapes and travel photos. Button also works with still life photography, which is what these are. The series, called Vanishing Spirits, are actually close-ups of the dried remains of single-malt scotch in the bottoms of glasses. The shapes are formed by the crystallization of the residue, and colored lighting adds an atmospheric effect.


The Balvenie 125


Glen Moray 110


The Macallan 103


Glenlivet 137


Dalwhinnie 125


Glenlivet 146


The Balvenie 133


The Macallan 101


Bruichladdich 109


Glengoyne 134


Glenlivet 162


Aberlour 107


Lagavulin 170


The Macallan 150


Glengoyne 116


Glenlivet 177


Ardbeg 124


Aberlour Abunadh


Button noticed the crystals in the bottom of an empty glass seven years ago, and found the detail and texture fascinating. He wondered if the patterns would vary based on the maker, and immediately answered the calling to art (and picked up a whole lot of single malt). For research purposes, of course.

The results make up the Vanishing Spirits series and are striking in their beauty. The photos, with their organic shapes and glowing colors, evoke both the very large and the small. They could be galaxies and stars, but they could also be cells and bacteria. Their unexpected source material reminds us that beauty can be found in the most mundane of locations, like the bottom of a used glass.

The project is still ongoing, and you can see even more results of this experiment on Button’s website.

Via My Modern Met