Photographer of the Week, Matthew Smith, has been studying the water since childhood. While on family holidays to the Mediterranean as a child, he was awed by the way that light intersects with water, creating cathedral lighting that moves and shimmers as it descends to the depths.
His fascination with light is evident in his work today as an underwater photographer. By using ambiant light balanced with strobes, Matty creates beautifully saturated dusk landscapes and split shots. By implementing artificial light, he freezes a swimming weedy seadragon or creatively highlights the translucence of a leatherjacket’s body. And in combination with framing choices, he lights up a squid at night, revealing the colorful, detailed spots in its gelatinous anatomy.
Step back and look at Matty’s images as a collective body of work. Weave through his use of time, framing, behavior, light and space, and you will notice a cohesive style and a consistent mood. It’s almost as though Matty lifts up a sheet that covers the top of the ocean, and invites his viewers to quietly peer in at a world existing as if nobody else is watching.
A backlit pygmy leatherjacket, Nelson Bay, Australia
A pregnant male weedy seadragon amongst the kelp at Botany Bay, Australia
A Pacific man o’ war at sunrise in Bushrangers Bay, Australia
Schooling silver bream at dawn at Bushrangers Bay, Australia
Juvenile southern calamari squid, Bushrangers Bay, Australia
Glaucus atlanticus, pelagic nudibranchs, Port Kembla, Australia
The house reef at Lissenung Island, Papua New Guinea
Two peach anemonefish in a purple balled up anemone, Kimbe Bay, Papua New Guinea
Matty and a toothy friend in Cuba
To see more of Matty's work, check out his website, www.mattysmithphoto.com.
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