Mark Tipple’s Underwater Photography Documents a Different Side of Surf

All images by Mark Tipple. Used with Creative Commons permission.

Surf and underwater photography are among one of the most fascinating and exciting genres, but Australian freelance photographer and filmmaker Mark Tipple had a different idea in mind for his own approach. Instead of taking snaps of the agile surfers as they ride out the waves, he chose to capture what typically happens during a wipeout or a plunge into the turbulent waters. If you’re into this kind of action-packed photography, you might find this perspective interesting.

For The Underwater Project, Mark wanted to show what happens beneath the waves: scenes onlookers above the surface most likely don’t give a thought to. “Surf photography’s been around forever. I wanted something different,” he realized. So, with an underwater camera in hand, he finds his spot under the waves and wait for the action to happen. He describes these scenes beautifully in his artist statement for this project:

“Grip the sand, they remind themselves. Go low, stay low.

“Their faces contort, their muscles tighten in reaction to the struggle for power with the ocean. They surface when the surge has passed. Then breathe.

“They are unaware that a camera has captured it all; from straining arms clawing at sand to eyes squeezed shut against the bite of salt.”

His photos indeed bring an interesting look into what happens when the waves barrel over surfers and swimmers. Through this project, we see what they do to either avoid the brunt of the crashing waves or at least recover from it. The scenes he captured are beautiful, especially the ones showing his subjects swimming gracefully under the waves and emerging on the other side. Whether or not you’re a surfer or surf/underwater photographer, this underwater approach is nothing short of immersive.

He also tells us more about the inspiration and challenges involved in this project in the insightful video below:

Do check out Mark Tipple’s website and Behance portfolio to learn more about The Underwater Project, as well as the rest of his beautiful photography.