NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Photographer Steven Hirsch spends his working days in the Manhattan courthouse focusing his lens on assorted murderers or celebrity stalkers.

But while driving around Brooklyn on one day off, he was drawn to the toxic Gowanus Canal.

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PHOTO GALLERY: ‘Gowanus: Off The Water’s Surface’ Photos By Steven Hirsch

“One day, I was standing there, and this oil started bubbling up, and it was like a gold mine of slime,” Hirsch told WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell. “And I took my camera out and started shooting and made all these abstract pictures.”

The photographer created images that recall Monet’s “Water Lilies” or the lines of a Picasso. In one photo, what appears to be a little red spaceship — actually a cork floating on the slime — heads for the stars.

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Hirsch described the vibrant hues in the photos as a “psychedelic pallet of colors.”

“It’s almost like traveling through space and time,” Hirsch said. “You get to see constellations and stars, and there’s a picture even with like a black hole.”

The photos are appearing in an exhibit titled “‘Gowanus: Off the Water’s Surface” at the Lilac Gallery in the Flatiron District from Wednesday until Dec. 1. For more information on the exhibit, click here.

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