» Fine Art Photography

All of the ocean’s creatures are under many different elements of stress. They are dying from habitat destruction, climate change, invasive species, ocean acidification, over fishing, shark fining, oil spills, pollution, erosion, pesticide run offs, and numerous other horrible environmental disasters caused by humans. Scientist around the world agree that these animals and reefs they inhabit may become part of the Earth’s past with-in many of our life times. These copper plates are displaying these animals from a future perspective of the ocean’s animals that lived long ago. Often, many people have a somber feeling when looking at historic photos from the 1800s because the people in the images have passed on. This work is an attempt to re-create that emotion. The human figure represents that this is the result of human presence and neglect of the underwater environment. The reflections in the copper reflect the viewer, showing their influence on the animals directly. The images are an imitation of the past; the copper is corroded to look old and the imagery is imitating old tintypes of the mid 1800s. They are a reference to the past, the beginnings of photography, surrealism, and if things continue to harm the reefs; the history of these animals that once inhabited in the oceans.

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Underwater Surrealism is a photographic exploration that combines animals beneath the surface with scenes above the surface. The images often play off the names of the animals, their purpose in their habitat, art historical references, or the animal being placed in ironic scenes. These photographs were taken throughout my travels scuba diving around the world. People have always been interested in going to see these animals at aquariums or while scuba diving; instead I am bringing these creatures up to us. I often find the oceans creatures discarded, forgotten, or deemed as not important. When tragedy strikes animals on land, the stories make national headlines, but in most cases the ocean disasters are not even being told. This body of work is to bring these animals above the surface in an attempt to make them just as important and to tell their story of their role in this world and bring awareness to them. Many of my dreams are often underwater and the Surrealist movement of the 1920s believed that our dreams were our subconscious coming out and art was used to show this. These dreams show the importance of the underwater world to not only myself but also the importance they should mean to everyone else. If these animals are brought up to the surface, are they now just as important as those on land? These images are an attempt to bring those dreams to reality with my camera and process. This body of work merges underwater, manipulated, landscape, and staged photography into my altered reality. Ultimately, I want to bring these dreams to life through my photographic process and show the importance of the underwater realm.

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Conor Culver Photography & Design Up