Real Flowers Submerged Underwater Blur the Line Between Photo and Painting

Underwater Flower Photographs by Barbara Cole

“Josephine”

Photographer Barbara Cole creates exquisite fine art photographs that blur the line between reality and a dream. In her newest series titled Appearances, she tries to find “connection during a time of separation.” She does this through flowers; specifically, their delicate forms and colors and the way in which they transform when submerged underwater.

Each flower in the series is celebrated in its own portrait. “Isolated from friends, loved ones, and my usual subject matter—the human form—these dreamlike portraits of anthropomorphized flora ask us to re-examine our notions of empathy and what it means to possess a form,” Cole tells My Modern Met. “By applying the language of haute couture to these flowers, Appearances explores the elegance and beauty inherent in all things.”

The soft and hazy effect of water wrapping around the contours of the flowers imbues the pictures with a wistful quality that is typical of Cole's photography style. As a result, all of the petals, leaves, and stems appear to bleed into the current of the water, transforming into one tender mirage.

You can view Appearances in person at the Bau-Xi Gallery in Toronto from April 10 to April 24, 2021, and keep up to date with Cole's latest projects by following her on Instagram.

Photographer Barbara Cole captures the hazy forms of flowers submerged in water.

Underwater Flower Photographs by Barbara Cole

“Henrietta”

The series, entitled Appearances, “explores the beauty and elegance inherent in all things.”

Underwater Flower Photographs by Barbara Cole

“Amilie”

Underwater Flower Photographs by Barbara Cole

“Susannah”

Underwater Flower Photographs by Barbara Cole

“Theodora”

Underwater Flower Photographs by Barbara Cole

“Winifred”

Underwater Flower Photographs by Barbara Cole

“Everly”

Underwater Flower Photographs by Barbara Cole

“Gwendolyn”

Underwater Flower Photographs by Barbara Cole

“Dorothea”

Underwater Flower Photographs by Barbara Cole

“Constance”

Underwater Flower Photographs by Barbara Cole

“Lottie”

Barbara Cole: Website | Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Barbara Cole.

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Margherita Cole

Margherita Cole is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met and illustrator based in Southern California. She holds a BA in Art History with a minor in Studio Art from Wofford College, and an MA in Illustration: Authorial Practice from Falmouth University in the UK. When she’s not writing, Margherita continues to develop her creative practice in sequential art.
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