LOCATION: Papua New Guinea
STORY: Whenever I photograph something that’s as common as a Dendronephthya soft coral, I have two major objectives: 1) find the most perfect specimen in the most perfect location, and 2) add a more complex technical photographic element to make it unique and give it a “pop”. The location was easy – at the time, I was living in Papua New Guinea, living on the boat, and based mostly on the north side of New Britain Island, and I frequently sailed up to Witu Crater – home of the world’s most beautiful coral reefs, so these soft corals were everywhere. This one, however, was beyond perfect – the heart-shape that I was searching for (because remember, almost all of my photos were a sketch first), and it was in such a location that I could easily get just down below it and shoot at the perfect angle. Now for the complex element to add the pop. By doing the shoot in the pre-sunrise hours with dim light, I can use a very long exposure. During that long exposure, I add movement. At just the right moment during that movement, I trigger my underwater flashes to freeze the image, and voila! Now we have a crisp, bright coral, with an abstract movement that in some ways makes it feel more like a painting than a photograph, and gives it a 3-D pop.
It’s a strange obsession of mine, always wanting to add a complex element into a simple composition. As an artist, I’m sometimes torn, because I realize that some collectors of my art simply couldn’t care less. Maybe people are drawn to it because of that complex element subconsciously without even realizing it? I’ll never really know. But in the end, I have to create an image to my vision. And I simply can’t do something “the easy way”. What would be the fun in that anyway!?
For printing, Heart of the Sea coral wall art is best kept in it’s native ratio of 3:2, and is available in large art sizes up to a maximum of 120″ wide. You can purchase this luxury wall art online in our standard sizes, but if you’d like to discuss a custom crop or size, please contact one of our design consultants.