The Atlantic – I

The Atlantic Ocean is in me.

For almost 20 years since it got its hook into me, I’ve been haunting, (in a moderate non-weird way), the Irish Atlantic coast, primarily the west, south and my own Copper Coast in the south-east.

For many years, in the depths of grim nights, I have stared into the dark and summoned the ocean as a blanket. I can float on groundswell as it pulses and lifts and lowers me. Experience the ground vibrations from huge breakers. Smell the plankton. Feel the wind tighten my face. Taste the salt. The Atlantic became as much part of me as I become a miniscule part  of it.

It’s a grey ocean. Grey, not gray, my American friends. The word was surely invented for the Atlantic. Not a dull description of colour, it’s a dimension, a world, a universe, The Soulstealer Sea. The Grey Atlantic, not the Blue Pacific. It’s a metal ocean. Steel and iron, verdigris if you are lucky. Hard.  Complete.

Welcome to my ocean.

{The photographs of the Atlantic in this three-part series are the best I’ve  taken, over a two and half year period, of various representational of elements of the Atlantic. It’s a personal, creative and a continuing journey. It is as important to me as taking the photographs to let them be seen. I feel like a photographer for once. All are better on full screen for a more, well, immersive experience.}

A Wave
A Wave
Winter Horizon I
Winter Horizon I
Winter Horizon II
Winter Horizon II
Sky & Sea
Vast
I - Swell.resized
Visitors from Far Away
The Sky In The Sea
The Sky In The Sea
Squall
Squall
A Reef
A Reef
The Storm Will Pass
Storms Always Pass
Local
Local
Evening Sea With Two Islands
Evening Sea With Two Islands

 

Force Nine
Force Nine
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10 thoughts on “The Atlantic – I”

  1. your pics are great, but you should come and photograph the pacific . its blue and different. anytime you feel the itch, contact me.

  2. Donal, you have a photographer’s eye with an intimate knowledge of the subject. Well done! I assume you know the seascape work of Hiroshi Sugimoto, but if not, check it out. I once saw a retrospective of his work in Washington, D.C., where the seascapes where hung in a dark room with tight spotlights only illuminating the large prints. You would have liked that.

    Looking forward to Parts II and III!

    1. Very kind Harald. Yes, I only “discovered” Sugimoto after I took up photography, and I was very impacted, in part because I felt he had done something that I was trying to do, but he’d done it better that I ever would. You are also right, I’ve love to have seen that shows. I imaine I’d have had to be removed by the ushers.

      I also like French marine photographer Philip Plisson who explores a more global range. Funnily enough I’d planned to mention both of them later in the series. I did realise though that there was no point worrying that others had done the subject better, and that at least it is a subject I know well. We rarely think of running out of landscapes to photograph, so why think such can happen with the sea? It’s that horizon line that Sugimoto explored so comprehensively. I have found that in many cases like here, focusing on closer in or on single aspects of the marine world that is available from dry land, results in occasional photos that I am happy with.

  3. Interesting point about focusing on single aspects from dry land. Have you tried shooting from in the water? I think you would be quite good at it. I did a bit of that in earlier years, and it adds a very different perspective. Here’s one from California in the late 1970s as my Facebook cover image:

    http://www.facebook.com/harald.johnson

    Hope to see some of yours!

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