underwater

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Art

The Coralarium: An Immersive Sculptural Installation Semi-Submerged in the Indian Ocean

July 19, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

All photographs shared with permission of the artist Jason deCaires Taylor

The Coralarium is the newest aquatic sculpture by artist Jason deCaires Taylor (previously here and here). Built in a large developed coral lagoon in the Maldives, the semi-submerged installation is positioned so both human and marine visitors can interact with sculptural elements on the skyline, inter-tidal waterline, and seabed.

To reach the Coralarium, island guests traverse about 500 feet (150 meters) of shallow water, seascaped with underwater poplars and endemic corals. About 20 feet (6 meters) tall, the open-air stainless steel cube is designed based on natural coral structures and allows tidal water and marine life to pass through. Within the structure, which provides some refuge from the ocean’s currents, are several figurative sculptures that merge human, plant, and coral shapes, based on endemic species of the island and its surrounding reefs. Additional sculptures sit and stand atop the cube’s roof to unite the interior elements with the horizon.

The aquatic destination is accessible via small group tours led by marine biologists that are on staff at the Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi resort. You can see more of Taylor’s work on Facebook and Instagram, and the video below shows the creation of the Coralarium. (via Web Urbanist)

 

 



Photography

Brave Snorkelers and Ravenous Jellyfish Steal the Spotlight in This Year’s Underwater Photographer of the Year

July 6, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

Compact Commended: "Elvis" by Stefano Cerbai (Italy)

Compact Commended: “Elvis” © Stefano Cerbai (Italy)/UPY2018

Winners and finalists in the 2018 Underwater Photographer of the Year contest showcased a wide range of subjects and perspectives—from a split photograph of a pair of crossed swans to a startling portrait of an unlucky fish being devoured by a luminescent jellyfish. The annual competition, held since 1965, is based in the UK and open to photographers worldwide. Judge chairman Peter Rowlands shares with Colossal that a free downloadable yearbook is available, compiling this year’s top photographs.

Wide Angle Commended: "Blacktip Rendezvous" by Renee Capozzola (USA)

Wide Angle Commended: “Blacktip Rendezvous” © Renee Capozzola (USA)/UPY2018

Behavior Runner Up: "In Hinding" by Scott Gutsy Tuason (Philippines)

Behavior Runner Up: “In Hinding” © Scott Gutsy Tuason (Philippines)/UPY2018

Black and White Highly Commended: "Morning Flight" by Filippo Borghi (Italy)

Black and White Highly Commended: “Morning Flight” © Filippo Borghi (Italy)/UPY2018

Wide Angle Third Place: "Evening Snorkel" by Brook Peterson (USA)

Wide Angle Third Place: “Evening Snorkel” © Brook Peterson (USA)/UPY2018

British Waters Macro Commended: "Nudibranch across the kelp" by Trevor Rees (UK)

British Waters Macro Commended: “Nudibranch across the kelp” © Trevor Rees (UK)/UPY2018

Macro Runner Up: "Friend or Food?!" by Songda Cai (China)

Macro Runner Up: “Friend or Food?!” © Songda Cai (China)/UPY2018

Portrait Winner: "A sand tiger shark surrounded by tiny bait fish" by Tanya Houppermans (USA)

Portrait Winner: “A sand tiger shark surrounded by tiny bait fish” © Tanya Houppermans (USA)/UPY2018

Black and White Winner: "Crocodile reflections" by Borut Furlan (Slovenia)

Black and White Winner: “Crocodile reflections”  © Borut Furlan (Slovenia)/UPY2018

Macro Highly Commended: "Pretty lady" by TianHong Wang (China)

Macro Highly Commended: “Pretty lady”  © TianHong Wang (China)/UPY2018

Wide Angle Winner: "Humpback whale spy hopping" by Greg Lecoeur (France)

Wide Angle Winner: “Humpback whale spy hopping”  © Greg Lecoeur (France)/UPY2018

British Underwater Photographer of the Year: "Love Birds" by Grant Thomas (UK)

British Underwater Photographer of the Year: “Love Birds” by  © Grant Thomas (UK)/UPY2018

 

 



Photography

Underwater Realm: Black and White Photos Capture Breathtaking Moments Amongst Life in the Sea

June 26, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Mexican photographer and anthropologist Anuar Patjane captures black and white moments of life underwater as a way to bring awareness to a part of the world most do not get a chance to see. Patjane searches for awe-inspiring snapshots to connect viewers with images of fish and other underwater animals. He hopes his photographs create an empathy towards these creatures and their environment while also expressing the impact that our choices have on their trajectory as species of the sea.

“With the [Underwater Realm] series, I try to drive our attention towards the beauty of our oceans a a truth usually unnoticed: We are brutally overfishing in our oceans, and our attention should be concentrated on the way we fish, as well as what we eat from the ocean,” he explains in an artist statement about the series. “We see and care when a forest is gone because it is visible to everybody, but we don’t see when we destroy life underwater.”

Patjane not only captures life underwater, but landscapes from all over the globe that may often go unnoticed. You can see more of his series, including images shot in Antarctica and Iceland, on his website and Instagram.

 

 



Dance

Underwater Choreography Performed in the World’s Deepest Pool by Julie Gautier

April 30, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

AMA is a short film performed and directed by deep sea diver and underwater filmmaker Julie Gautier. The work follows Gautier through several uninterrupted minutes of underwater choreography, gracefully performed in the world’s deepest pool near Venice, Italy. She holds her breath as she uses controlled movements to twist and glide through the calm water, eventually rising up to the surface with the release of one giant air bubble.

The piece is titled after the Japanese word for “woman of the sea,” which is also the name for Japan’s traditional shell collectors. The film is a metaphoric nod to these united women, while also representing the relationship that connects women from all over the world.

“For me, this film is a way to say: you are not alone,” said Gautier, “open yourself to others, talk about your sufferings and your joys.”

Gautier and her husband, world champion deep sea diver Guillaume Néry, worked together on the 2015 Beyoncé and Arrow Benjamin music video Runnin, and collaborate on an underwater film company called Les Films Engloutis. You can see more short films by Gautier on her website and Instagram. (via Vimeo Staff Pick)

 

 



Art Science

An 80-Foot Steel Kraken Will Create an Artificial Coral Reef Near the British Virgin Islands

October 18, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

All images via Owen Buggy

This past April a massive 80-foot steel kraken was purposefully sunk into the Caribbean Sea on top of a decorated WW2 ship. The former Navy fuel barge and its monstrous passenger were placed underwater in order to jumpstart a new coral ecosystem, while also serving as a cutting-edge education center for marine researchers and local students from the surrounding British Virgin Islands. The project is titled the BVI Art Reef, and aims to use sculptures like the porous kraken as a base to grow transplanted coral.

The Kodiak Queen, formerly a Navy fuel barge named the YO-44, was discovered by British photographer Owen Buggy approximately two and a half years ago on the island of Tortola. Instead of letting the historic vessel get picked apart for scrap metal, Buggy approached former boss Sir Richard Branson about collaborating on a restorative art installation. Together with nonprofit Unite B.V.I., artist group Secret Samurai Productions, social justice entrepreneurial group Maverick1000, and ocean education nonprofit Beneath the Waves, the project was established as both an eco-friendly art installation, and a philanthropic measure to rehabilitate native marine species.

“It’s envisioned that within just a short space of time the ship and artwork will attract a myriad of sea creatures,” said Clive Petrovic who consults on the environmental impact of the BVI Art Reef. “Everything from corals to sea sponges, sharks and turtles will live on, in, and around the wreck. The ship will become valuable for future research by scientists and local students alike.”

To sink the massive ship, the project sought the help of the Commercial Dive Services who safely submerged the vessel off the coast of the island Virgin Gorda. It was the first time the ship had been in the water for nearly 17 years, and was lead to its final resting place by a bevy of boats and helicopters.

Filmmaker Rob Sorrenti filmed both the construction and sinking of the kraken and its ship. The full-length documentary is currently in post-production, with an estimated release early next year. You can watch a clip from the upcoming film below. For information on visiting the BVI Art Reef, and to learn more about its educational programs, visit the project’s website and Facebook.

 

 



Photography Science

A Photographer Captures the Unusual Way Sperm Whales Sleep

July 4, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

© Franco Banfi / Licensed for use on Colossal

Photographer Franco Banfi and a team of scuba divers were following a pod of sperm whales when suddenly the large creatures became motionless and began to take a synchronized vertical rest. This strange sleeping position was first discovered only in 2008, when a team of biologists from the UK and Japan drifted into their own group of non-active sperm whales. After studying tagged whales the team learned this collective slumber occurs for approximately 7 percent of the animal’s life, in short increments of just 6-24 minutes.

The image, Synchronized Sleepers, was a finalist in the 2017 Big Picture Competition in the category of Human/Nature. You can see more of the Switzerland-based photographer’s underwater photography on his website and Instagram. (via kottke.org)

 

 



Photography

Heavy Metals: New Underwater Ink and Metal Photographs by Alberto Seveso

January 5, 2015

Christopher Jobson

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Bristol-based illustrator and photographer Alberto Seveso (previously) just shared a new collection of underwater ink photographs titled Heavy Metals. Seveso achieves the ethereal forms in his photographs by mixing ink with metallic powders which are then suspended in different fluids. You can see more of his fluid-based photography and illustration in his portfolio.