Preservation: Tao

All photos: Blake Little

Award-winning photographer Blake Little has built a career shooting masterful portraits of celebrities and other high-profile clients, and in his latest series, his craft takes a surreal, sticky turn as he dumps and drizzles gallons of honey onto his willing subjects.

Preservation by Blake Little

The warm hue and glassy sheen of the gooey liquid makes the models appear as though they are encased in amber.

Little believes that this unconventional use of honey "has a way of diffusing the personal qualities of the subject, often making them unrecognizable and democratizing the individual with universal iconic qualities."

 

The resulting images, which have been compiled into a striking photo book titled "Preservation," are fascinating, featuring people of all shapes, sizes, colors and ages.

Preservation: Jessica

The book's introduction was penned by Kenneth Lapatin, the associate curator of antiquities at the J. Paul Getty Museum. Read an excerpt from his essay:

"Many of the subjects seem to struggle, while others surrender themselves to it. In this, and in other ways, the images in these pages recall those (made familiar by photographers of a very different era) of the plaster casts of the victims of Vesuvius, whose bodies have disappeared, but whose evocative forms remained in hollows in the ash that buried them during the disaster that destroyed the ancient cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum during the eruption of A.D. 79, which, paradoxically, simultaneously destroyed and preserved them and have become something of a byword for the fleetingness and unpredictability of human life."

When you're done marveling at the gooey portraits below, be sure to check out more of Little's work on his website and Instagram account.

Preservation: Riot
Preservation: Devion
Preservation: Moxie
Preservation: Paul
Preservation: Sarah
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Catie Leary is a photo editor at Mother Nature Network. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.