Photographs of Sea Stars (1917)

These strangely alluring images are from a report by Ludwig Heinrich Philipp Döderlein (1855–1936), a German zoologist who specialized in sea stars, sea urchins, and crinoids. Although Döderlein is best known for his study of marine life in Japan, where he was one of the very first European naturalists to work, from 1879 to 1881, these starfish are actually from the waters around Indonesia, collected during the Siboga Expedition, 1899–1900. Taken upon a surface of black, the images seem to render the name of “starfish” / “sea star” all the more appropriate — almost as though the stars of a night sky, under a human gaze, have exploded enlarged into biological beings.

Housed at: Internet Archive | From: Smithsonian via Biodiversity Heritage Library.
Underlying Work: PD Worldwide | Digital Copy: No additional rights
Download: Right click on image or see source for higher res versions
dieasteridenders4619171936dd_0213

dieasteridenders4619171936dd_0217

dieasteridenders4619171936dd_0221

dieasteridenders4619171936dd_0225

dieasteridenders4619171936dd_0229

dieasteridenders4619171936dd_0233

dieasteridenders4619171936dd_0237

dieasteridenders4619171936dd_0241

dieasteridenders4619171936dd_0245

dieasteridenders4619171936dd_0253

dieasteridenders4619171936dd_0273

dieasteridenders4619171936dd_0277