While stunning vistas and grand landscapes never fail to captivate the minds of many photographers and have resulted in countless photos, the truth is this is only one small fragment of the earth. Well, you can’t really call it small, but put all together, this is a mere piece in the puzzle – not the puzzle itself. Though there are an infinite number of sights to see above ground, you can still only cover a quarter of the planet. The rest is water.
This is perhaps one of the driving forces of sculptor Jason de Caires Taylor, whose body of work is designed for the sea. And what a body of work it is!
For years now, Taylor has been putting permanent live installations beneath the surface of the water, creating not only new habitat for the fish, but creating a stage for stunning and surreal underwater images as well. What makes his installations so perfect for underwater photography though are the layers in craftsmanship and purpose he has put into them.
These underwater scenes are made from organic materials specially chosen to be conducive to growth of marine life. They are also meant to serve as homes for many underwater life. The sculptures are made from materials which can enhance and speed up the growth of organisms, corals, fish, and other marine life. Thus, over the years, what started out as people’s faces or people’s figures in various poses, slowly become home to different kinds of fish, corals, sea grass, and the like. While these newly created reefs blossom, many tourists and divers are drawn away from existing reefs can be fragile. Through these installations, new habitats are formed while old habitats get much deserved rest.
But it isn’t the good intentions of Jason de Caires Taylor’s work that make them such great spots for underwater photography. What makes them so captivating is how life and growth can be captured in such a dramatic, poignant, and unique way. Seeing what once was a child’s face start to evolve into sea moss housing shrimp, or how a man’s arm becomes home to a starfish no only give colourful and surreal images, but a glimpse into how nature, when nurtured, eventually can take over humans and human life.
Thus, the installations aren’t simply meant to serve as new living space for marine life, or alternative tourism spots, but also become a reminder of human’s responsibility to provide avenues for nature to thrive and to take of the resources that we have.
Taylor’s works are scattered throughout Mexico and Latin America where they have become major attractions for divers and snorkelers. Their brilliance and beauty have also received world-wide acclaim and praises from the likes of National Geographic and Forbes.
Julia Escano – Shoot The Frame
Photographer: Jason deCaires Taylor