Underwater Photography Captures Weightless Bodies Frozen in Motion

Underwater Photography Series by Barbara Cole

Many of us are familiar with the feeling of slowing down underwater, but we rarely have the opportunity to see what that looks like. Canada-based artist Barbara Cole, however, specializes in the practice of capturing people as well as objects when they are submerged in crystal-clear pools. Her latest series, entitled BEAT, uses water as a way to celebrate the movement of the human figure in several striking portraits.

Each photograph features a solitary man or woman dressed in white clothing and frozen in a state of action. The water imbues their limbs with a sense of weightlessness, which in turn makes their movements appear effortless and ethereal. While the water is mostly invisible to us as the viewers, it still filters the image with a sense of distortion. As a result, these subjects “independently investigate what it means to move in what is both an insulated and changeable space.”

BEAT is Cole's first underwater photography series on the human figure since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Like her other projects, she celebrates the inherent beauty of the body and the way it moves by suspending it in water. These figures, freed by the constraints of gravity, weightlessly stretch into positions that are reminiscent of ballet and dance. “BEAT is a manifestation of the body celebrating itself as it moves back freely into the world,” Cole's artist statement explains.

BEAT will exhibit at Bau-Xi Gallery in Toronto from July 9, 2022, to July 23, 2022. You can purchase available photographs via Cole's website.

Artist Barbara Cole captures the human body in motion in her latest underwater photography series.

Underwater Photography Series by Barbara ColeUnderwater Photography Series by Barbara Cole

Entitled BEAT, these images feature figures dressed in white moving in crystal clear pools.

Underwater Photography Series by Barbara ColeUnderwater Photography Series by Barbara Cole

Their movements are slowed down by the water, revealing their grace and beauty.

Underwater Photography Series by Barbara ColeUnderwater Photography Series by Barbara ColeUnderwater Photography Series by Barbara ColeUnderwater Photography Series by Barbara ColeUnderwater Photography Series by Barbara ColeUnderwater Photography Series by Barbara ColeUnderwater Photography Series by Barbara Cole

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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