The Shape of Water

Water has an evocative quality. It’s commonly used as a metaphor for emotional states within music and literature, natural beauty is epitomised by images of the sun setting over the ocean. The depths and mysteries of our oceans inspire and terrify in equal measure. Water has the ability to reflect and refract light, acting as a natural mirror and lens, one of the many reasons that it has universal appeal to photographers the world over. This incredible compound covers 71% of our planet and allows life to form and thrive, and as such the condition of our water systems and the ecologies they support shine a light on the health of our planet as a whole.

Water is in constant motion, always changing – through evaporation, precipitation, the flow of rivers into the seas and the ebb and flow of the tides. Given enough time water has the power to carve through stone. The shapes and textures within these images are transient, existing for only moments as the molecules continue on their cyclical journey. The lens captures and preserves these moments; creating samples of a form that has already changed by the time the camera shutter has reset.

Creating the installation piece – the images were printed on Platinum Baryta paper and cut using a laser cutter, mounted in 90mm glass petri dishes and glazed with a clear perspex disc. These were displayed in bespoke plywood trays designed to emulate the specimen storage trays used in Victorian museums. The final piece, including the stand, measures 370 x 500 x 570mm.

The finished installation piece as part of The Fragile Ocean Exhibition at Lumen Crypt Gallery, London, 21st – 24th November 2019.

A book featuring all of the images used in the installation is available here.