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Redefining "Underwater Scenes" with Jason Isley
By Jason Isley, December 22, 2012 @ 12:25 AM (EST)

Recently underwater macro photography has become very repetitive, which is why there are lots of different techniques and gadgets, like snoots, external macro close up lenses, and bug-eye lenses to spice it up. 

I decided I wanted to shoot something completely different, and back in 2010 I came across some miniature images online by Christopher Boffoli. Boffoli uses the model train set characters and creates fantastic scenes that mimic everyday life mostly with food.

In early 2011 I was browsing through a book shop in Singapore when I came across another example of miniature images by a photographer known as Slinkachu. Slinkachu was actually creating art installations by placing the model train set characters on the street in funny and interesting predicaments and shooting a set of images of them.

All these images are amazing, but used stationary subjects, rather than anything living. That's when I had the idea, "What if you were to use underwater creatures that don’t swim away?" The idea of placing miniature people amongst underwater macro creatures and creating a completely surreal scene entered my head and I couldn’t stop thinking of various options with critters like mantis shrimps, scrorpionfish, snake eels, and the like.

Once I had the miniature people, I planned various shots and headed out to the marine park opposite Kota Kinabalu, but things didn’t go to plan and I suddenly realised it wouldn’t be that simple. I had to make some modifications to the little people to make them more negative underwater, I didn’t want to damage any marine life so had to be careful about where they were placed.

Most of the miniatures are on the sand and have coins or small weights glued to the underside of their feet, sand is then gently brushed over to hide them. The miniatures actually stand upright underwater and are neutrally buoyant; this worked with the little girl watering the Christmas tree worm but she would get blown away by the current every few minutes.

There are now four main categories with a fifth in the pipeline:

  • Attack – marine creatures attacking humans
  • Invasion – human soldiers fighting back
  • Harmony – leisure activities shared by humans and marine creatures
  • Harmony – human workers helping marine creatures

The fifth category will highlight the pollution in the ocean and I already have the various miniatures ready to go to work!















To see more of Jason's work, visit Scubazoo.com and to view the entire photo series, visit Jason's Flickr Gallery.


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