Installed earlier this month on the western coastline of New Providence in Nassau, Bahamas, “Ocean Atlas,” is the lastest underwater sculpture by artist Jason deCaires Taylor (previously), known for his pioneering effort to build submerged sculpture parks in oceans around the world. Taylor’s cement figures are constructed with a sustainable pH-neutral material that encourages the growth of coral and other marine wildlife, effectively forming an artificial reef that draws tourists away from diving hotspots in over-stressed areas.
Towering 18 feet tall and weighing in at more than 60 tons, Ocean Atlas is reportedly the largest sculpture ever deployed underwater. The artwork depicts a local Bahamian girl carrying the weight of the ocean above her in reference to the Ancient Greek myth of Atlas, the primordial Titan who held up the celestial spheres. The piece was commissioned by B.R.E.E.F (Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation), as part of an ongoing effort to build an underwater sculpture garden in honor of its founder, Sir Nicholas Nuttal. You can see a bit more over on Atlas Obscura and at the Creator’s Project, who are working on a documentary about the piece.
We’ve seen no shortage of projects using layers of glass to simulate bodies of water the last few days. First we had glass sculptures by Ben Young, followed by several amazing river and lake tables Greg Klassen. Now we have designer Christopher Duff of Duffy London who has released concept images of the Abyss Table, a carefully layered table made from sculpted Perspex and wood that creates a geographic cross-section of the ocean. The tables will be limited to a series of 25 and are available for purchase here.
It should be noted that these are digital renderings of what the final piece should look like, it will be great to see photos of the actual tables once they are built. You can see a few more renderings on their Facebook page. (via designboom)
Our Changing Seas III is the third piece in a series of large-scale ceramic coral reef sculptures by artist Courtney Mattison. The sprawling installation is entirely hand-built and is meant to show the devastating transition coral reefs endure when faced with climate change, a process called bleaching. She shares via email:
At its heart, this piece celebrates my favorite aesthetic aspects of a healthy coral reef surrounded by the sterile white skeletons of bleached corals swirling like the rotating winds of a cyclone. There is still time for corals to recover even from the point of bleaching if we act quickly to decrease the threats we impose. Perhaps if my work can influence viewers to appreciate the fragile beauty of our endangered coral reef ecosystems, we will act more wholeheartedly to help them recover and even thrive.
Created by University of Queensland PhD student Daniel Stoupin, this remarkable macro video of coral reefs, sponges and other underwater wildlife, brings a fragile and rarely-seen world into vivid focus. Stoupin shot some 150,000 photographs which he edited down to create the final clip. He shares about the endeavor:
Time lapse cinematography reveals a whole different world full of hypnotic motion and my idea was to make coral reef life more spectacular and thus closer to our awareness. I had a bigger picture in my mind for my clip. But after many months of processing hundreds of thousands of photos and trying to capture various elements of coral and sponge behavior I realized that I have to take it one step at a time. For now, the clip just focuses on beauty of microscopic reef “landscapes.” The close-up patterns and colors of this type of fauna hardly resemble anything from the terrestrial environments. Corals become even less familiar if you consider their daily “activities.”
Stoupin discusses Slow Life as well as the threats to the Great Barrier Reef that inspired him to make the video in a detailed entry over on his blog. (via Kottke)
Our favorite photographer of everything creepy and crawly under the sea, Alexander Semenov, recently released a number of incredible new photographs of worms, several of which may be completely unknown to science. Half of the photos were taken at the Lizard Island Research Station near the Great Barrier Reef in Australia during a 2-week conference on marine worms called polychaetes. Semenov photographed 222 different worm species which are now in the process of being studied and documented by scientists.
The other half of the photos were taken during Semenov’s normal course of work at the White Sea Biological Station in northern Russia where he’s head of the scientific divers team. We’ve previously featured the intrepid photographer’s work with jellyfish (part 2, part 3), and starfish.
Back in January, photographer Ger Kelliher snapped this high speed photo of angry sea foam captured on Coomeenole beach in West Kerry, Ireland. The lighting and perfect timing make the water look almost sculptural in quality. If you’re interested, he has the image available as a high resolution download over on Etsy so you can make your own prints.
If I had to spend the rest of my life trapped inside a photograph, there’s a good chance I might flip through a stack of photographs by Andrew Smith (previously) to make a selection. Smith shoots mostly in locations around his home in New Zealand where he captures breathtaking oceanside landscapes both in and out of water. Smith photographs almost exclusively with a Nikon D800 and then processes his images in Adobe Lightroom, something he documents in detail on his Before and After Lightroom Blog. These are some of my favorite shots from the last year or so, but you can see hundreds of additional photos by Smith over on Flickr.