In Australian photographer Matthew (Matty) Smith’s series Over/Under, he simultaneously captures life above and below sea level. The gorgeous shots showcase our familiar world of sunsets, trees, and seagulls in the top halves of the photos, while the bottom portions feature intriguing sights of jellyfish, coral, and schools of fish.
Photographing these types of images present some unique technical challenges. There’s a difference in lighting and focus between the two areas, so Smith uses a strobe light for the underwater part of the photo. It helps mitigate the darker scenery with its low contrast and saturation.
Diving is a big part of Smith’s life and photographic practice. He sees Over/Under as a way to share his experiences with a non-diver. “I think it’s [diving] the suspense of the unknown of what lies beneath, the transitional part of moving from one element to the next that feels so magical and the thought of what alien creatures I might encounter,” he writes. “I try to convey to the viewer that majestic feeling in a picture format. It’s maybe the best way I can communicate to a non-diver what it’s all about, to marry a wet and unfamiliar world with a dry and more familiar one.”