'The Seventh Wave,' Photographs by Trent Parke

March 27, 2013

Photographer Trent Parke is the first and only Australian member of the prestigious Magnum Photos. We love his series, The Seventh Wave, a collection of photographs taken beneath the waves, and amongst diving, jumping, and paddling swimmers. 

"The surface of the sea is a film separating two worlds, that of water and that of air. Though absolute the distinction is perpetually on the brink of dissolving, melting away. People fly through the water as if suspended in a turbulent sky, or float through great clouds of aquatic light. That’s what water is for Parke and Autio – liquid light. Forms dissolve, blur, swim into and out of focus. Quick and silver, the water is a flash-flood of mercury. Part of the attraction of this undertaking, I’m guessing, is that the conventions of perspective and composition are not so much broken as bent out of shape, temporarily suspended. So completely has perspective been absorbed into our understanding of human perception that its abandonment suggests that we might be sharing a non-human or shark’s-eye-view. This lurking sense of danger is also a product of association. When a squid is under attack it emits clouds of ink – which is exactly what we get here: huge oil spills of dense, billowing black, while people dive and bomb through the surface and into the picture frame. They’re like human depth charges, or flash-bulbs exploding. As the shockwaves pass through the pictures it’s as if they’re in the process of being blasted apart – except it’s all pretty puny in comparison with the massive force of water, the rips and moon-tugged tides. Life on earth, in some of these pictures, looks like it could be ending as well as beginning." - Geoff Dyer for ASX

All photos courtesy Magnum Photos.