The desaturated underwater photography of Michaela Skovranova creates a haunting vision of this foreign environment. Her artistic photography moves seamlessly from capturing the spirit of humpback whales to models floating beneath the water's surface. The Slovakia-born artist now resides in Australia, the perfect home for her to push the boundaries of her photography.
Skovranova transitioned into underwater photography three years ago, bringing her moody color palette and fine art sensibilities with her. Enjoying the variables that working underwater brings, she reminds us that “we only get to visit for as long as our breath hold lasts or a tank of air.” This mix of spontaneity and careful planning makes for incredibly memorable imagery.
As an Olympus Visionary, Skovranova uses a lightweight setup to increase her ability to be flexible while under the sea. Right now, she shoots on an Olympus OMD EM 1 MARK II and Olympus PT 14 Housing, relying on fixed focal length lenses. “This simple approach allows me to experiment with the environment as it happens without having to worry too much about the technical aspects,” she shares.
Working in a marine environment has brought Skovranova into close contact with these ecosystems. Her photographs demonstrating a quiet reverence for the species that live in the ocean. Even from her initial shoots, she was able to cultivate memorable experiences that pushed her work further. For instance, during one of her first swims with a humpback whale in Tonga, Vava'u she cultivated a striking memory. “A baby humpback whale breached just meters away from us and the force of the water pushed us away and covered us in thousands of tiny bubbles. It was special to be able to experience nature in this way.”
These bubbles run through many of her images, creating a hazy mask through which we see both whales and humans sharing the same space. As she continues to explore the deep waters of the ocean, it's her hope that through her artistry, viewers reflect on—and are spurred to explore—their own connections with the environment.