New Book Chronicles National Geographic Photographer’s Long Career of Split-View Ocean Images

Ocean Photography David Doubilet

Father and Son, Kimbe Bay, Papua New Guinea, 2013. © David Doubilet
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What’s just below the ocean’s surface? In the wondrous images by National Geographic photographer David Doubilet, we get a glimpse into the world beneath the water. Known as the “Audubon of the sea,” Doubilet captures vivid sights that are a split view, simultaneously showing what’s happening atop the water as well as within it.

The results are fascinating; a magenta jellyfish, for instance, blooms in the foreground, punctuated with a backdrop of tall pine trees. A fuzzy baby seal rests on a seemingly shallow piece of ice with no idea that it’s a much larger glacier below. This unique format supports the bigger idea behind Doubilet's work. “I want to create a window into the sea,” he explains, “that invites people to see how their world connects to another life-sustaining world hidden from their view.”

Doubilet’s incredible underwater photography has been compiled into a new book published by Phaidon. Titled Two Worlds: Above and Below the Sea, it features a bevy of images taken throughout his career, published just as he is celebrating his 50th anniversary as a National Geographic photographer. The above-below images feature places including the frigid Atlantic ocean and the tropical Great Barrier Reef. Each reveals the beauty of air and sea while offering a powerful reminder for us to do all we can to protect our world amid climate change.

Two Worlds: Above and Below the Sea will be available on November 3, 2021, through Phaidon’s website. It is also currently available for pre-order on Amazon.

Photographer David Doubilet captures a stunning split view of the ocean.

Ocean Photography David Doubilet

Lion’s Mane Jellyfish, Bonne Bay Fjord, Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland, Canada, 2012. © David Doubilet

Ocean Photography David Doubilet

Harp Seal Pup, Gulf of St Lawrence, Canada, 2011. © David Doubilet

Ocean Photography David Doubilet

Grounded Iceberg, Blanley Bay, Devon Island, Nunavut, Canada, 2018. © David Doubilet

Ocean Photography David Doubilet

Chinstrap and Gentoo Penguins, Danco Island, Antarctica, 2011. © David Doubilet

Ocean Photography David Doubilet

Bar Jacks, Grand Cayman Island, 1990. © David Doubilet

Ocean Photography David Doubilet

Blacktip Reef Sharks, South Pass, Fakarava Atoll, French Polynesia, 2018. © David Doubilet

His work has been compiled in a forthcoming book titled Two Worlds: Above and Below the Sea published by Phaidon.

Ocean Photography David Doubilet

David Doubilet: Website | Facebook | Instagram
Phaidon: Website | Instagram | Facebook

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Phaidon.

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Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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