The underwater portraits of Mark Tipple have an otherworldly look and lighting that no studio could match. Sunlight filters through frothy breaking waves, illuminating the ocean floor as swimmers fly through the depths.
How did the project get it’s start? A seasoned ocean photographer, one day while photographing shore break Tipple noticed some kids diving into the waves. Diving under himself, he snapped off the amazing shot at the bottom of this post and kicked off what would become The Underwater Project.
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Tipple explains the difficulty of getting a good shot:
“When we shoot back in [South Africa], I only shoot with people I trust as I don’t want to put them in danger. My mate Scott and I went to a remote beach near Port Lincoln – the waves had about 8 to 10-foot faces, but when we got out there we realized they were about twice as big as we had expected. We got absolutely pounded, managed to get three shots in the 20 minutes before the waves kicked us back to shore. The ocean beat us. I’ve landed on people, I’ve run into them underwater, I’ve stayed underwater too long and surfaced dizzy from a lack of oxygen, I’ve lost my camera. And I was almost landed on by a dolphin…”
The challenges have definitely payed off. For many more shots, check out The Underwater Project, then swing by Gallery for Justice, a project Tipple co-created in order to bring light to important social justice issues which traditional media sources often neglect.
If you’re into surfing, you should definitely check out the excellent surf website The Inertia, which featured these images. They focus on a lot of thought provoking and untouched subjects in traditional surf media.