Few people get a chance to photograph animals such as hippos, hyenas, or crocodiles. Suren Manvelyan, however, has managed to get so close to them, he even captured insanely detailed close-ups of their eyes.

Some of these macro shots look like landscapes of distant yet-to-be-discovered planets while others remind some sort of a portal to another dimension. But they all prove that the eyes really are the windows to the soul; analyzing the images you can't help but experience profound sensations, as if you're uncovering deeply personal secrets.

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"I began thinking about this series after I completed a similar one about the human eye," Manvelyan told Bored Panda. "After the first project, I had really improved in shooting eyes in any conditions, and eventually settled on the idea to photograph animal eyes."

Manvelyan captured animals pretty much everywhere he could find them, from his backyard to zoos, oceanariums, and so on. "Sometimes, people even contact me, asking to shoot the eyes of their pets."

"The eyes of every animal is the result of it adapting to its living conditions. That's the reason why there are so many eye types. Water animals have completely different eyes than those living on earth, too. I think this is what makes the animal eye series so interesting to the viewer."

Manvelyan also started a game with his online followers. When he would upload a new photo, he'd ask his Facebook and Instagram fans to guess what species the eye belongs to. "Interestingly, it can become quite a tough challenge."

Being so close to animals, however, is a challenge of its own. For example, Manvelyan spent an hour with a llama in her cage, trying to make her familiar with him and to allow him to get within the required distance for the right shot. "I would like to stress that all animals included in the series were alive and no animal was hurt in any way during shoots," the photographer added.

He wouldn't disclose any technical aspects of these shoots as he spent a lot of time and effort perfecting the setup for this particular series, but said the most interesting part of it all was realizing that nearly all people have the same eye structure. "It doesn't matter if you are young or old, white or black."

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Note: this post originally had 74 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.

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