29-year-old Mark Tipple decided to shoot surfers underwater when he became frustrated with “normal” surf photography, and wanted to capture the action from a different perspective. “I guess it's transformed from a simple idea of seeing how the waves look underwater to how people adapt and what they go through when diving under waves,” he says.
The Sydney-based photographer shoots with a specially adapted camera housed in a waterproof container the size of a shoebox, with a rig that weighs about 11 pounds. “Heavy enough to hurt when it hits me in the head,” says Tipple.
Shot of the Australian coast, Tipple's photos showcase both the ocean's beauty and its potentially frightening power; crisp, clear waters mix with crashing white plumes as his subjects navigate their way in the underwater world. He's quick to note that he's often the one getting thrashed around. “Most of the time I come off worse than the people I'm shooting,” he says. “Generally I'm looking sidewards to track where they are in relation to where the wave is, and tend to pay more attention to them than the wave; which can rock me pretty hard.”