In a world where up is down and down is up, can you look to the sky?
In Florida's springs, magical reflections play tricks on your mind, engulfing you in a swaying green paradise where fish and turtles can fly. Hovering weightlessly, you are suspended in a crystal clear heaven with endless visibility… while you're submerged, the rest of the world is on hold.
At the interface of air and water, there are incredible distortions and mind-bending special effects. When I first started taking pictures in the springs, my favorite shot was the ½ and ½ - it’s fun to play with the interface of water and air and observe the transition between what seem to be two strikingly different worlds.
Over the past year, I developed a new favorite shot: from just below the surface, there appears to be a world with endless water – from just the right angle and perspective, the underwater world takes over the sky. It’s the view from the eyes of the mermaids. With over 20 trips to Blue Spring over the past few months, I have experimented in all sorts of light, weather, times of day, and different types of vegetation. I have been so focused on my camera, body position in the water, and doing snail research that only very recently did I draw what now seems to be an obvious parallel between these photographs and the real world.
These photos represent what is all too often our relationship with water – we see a seeming infinity, what Cynthia Barnett terms an “illusion of water abundance.”1 This deceptive mirage of endless water floods our brains even as groundwater is depleted, wells are sucked dry, and ecosystems are drastically altered. We want to believe that water is an endless resource, stretching far into the future and taking over the sky, but in reality, this is sadly not the case.
The time is far past due for us to reflect on what water means to us, how we can both conserve it and develop a new and sustainable relationship with it, and how we’re going to carry on in a water-stressed world. I invite you to begin your reflections here:
The complete “Illusions” album is on Facebook if you’d like to check it out. This collection of illusions photos is an ongoing project, so I will be adding to it frequently as I build my portfolio and explore new springs. Please feel free to share this post or the “Illusions” album to help raise awareness about these beautiful but fragile and endangered ecosystems. You can also check out springseternalproject.org to learn more about Florida's springs and the factors that are contributing to the water quality and quantity problems that are currently plaguing the springs.
1 Cynthia Barnett talks about this illusion in her Op-Ed “America’sWater Mirage,” published in the LA Times on Nov 11, 2012: http://articles.latimes.com/2012/nov/11/opinion/la-oe-barnett-water-colorado-river-scarcity-20121111. “The Illusion of Water Abundance” is also the title of the opening chapter of her wonderful book Blue Revolution.