Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Underwater Fairy Tales of Andreas Franke

Red Riding Hood by Andreas Franke
This is a different exhibit: Andreas Franke, who is well known for his underwater fantasy photography, has most recently turned his attention to fairy tales for a unique set of venues for a unique cause.

Here's the press release:
Plunge into the strange, surreal and mysterious world of award-winning visual artist Andreas Franke and experience his photographic Phantasy Fairytale underwater art exhibition at Huvafen Fushi and NIYAMA in the Maldives.
Each photographic piece has been submerged in the Indian Ocean and can be seen from inside the underwater music club Subsix at NIYAMA and inside the underwater LIME spa at Huvafen Fushi. Should you decide to purchase a piece to take home with you a percentage of proceeds will be donated to Per AQUUM’s Coral Regeneration Program. 
Snow White (yes, NOT Sleeping Beauty)
The exhibition magically combines photography, nautical exploration and digital mastery to produce compelling underwater dream worlds where Western fairytale characters are creatively superimposed against the backdrop of the Indian Ocean. Each photographic art piece evokes a feeling of folklore and magic with Snow White, Little Red Riding Hood and Star Money exhibiting at both NIYAMA and Huvafen Fushi, while the Snow Queen features exclusively at NIYAMA and The Last Unicorn features exclusively at Huvafen Fushi. 
The Last Unicorn

How cool is that? Using the sea floor as a gallery? Not only that, underwater algae and other microorganisms are encouraged to organically become part of the painting. It's fascinating!
Star Money
Mr. Franke is completely passionate about diving and underwater sea life, so it's really wonderful to see his art supporting what he's most passionate about - the underwater realm and all that he loves about it. All his creations (not just these fairy tales) are magical and otherworldly and I really love how he takes care to incorporate the"normal life of sea creatures" in his photos as well. The reality of them existing in these other-underworlds take these from interesting to wondrous.

Here's a description on how the paintings were created:
The images are created by Andreas undertaking two separate photo shoots; one using an underwater backdrop followed by a secondary studio shoot with real life models that bring the final visual to life. These secondary shots are then superimposed onto the original images to create the finished Phantasy Fairytale. To secure the art underwater, they’ll be encased in Plexiglass and suspended from the underwater structures of Subsix at NIYAMA and the LIME Spa at Huvafen Fushi. 
Snow Queen 
Andreas says his creative input is just the first part of the process. Once the images are submerged, it is up to the sea and nature to create the final finished product. Together with algae and microorganisms, the salt water adorns the pictures from the world above. It is the individual signature of the ocean that embellishes the photographs, a bizarre and beautiful touch of impermanence.
How did you imagine the scenes for Phantasy Fairytale?Andreas: While I was diving, fairy-tale like scenes appeared in my mind’s eye, like Little Red Riding Hood walking through coral reefs resembling trees. The moment I start the photo shoot, everything becomes clear: the concept, the realisation, even the post-production. It is only the interpretation that I leave to the spectators.
Here's a couple of photos of the installation process:
Here's a much more detailed look at how Mr. Franke goes about the dives, the set-ups and the layers of photography. If you love diving and the sea, you will LOVE this video!:
And here's how the Phantasy Fairytale paintings are currently being viewed: 
When I first saw these I, on a whim, looked up the prices for an overnight stay and just about fell off my chair. Needless to say, the main resort mentioned is a popular celebrity retreat BUT I'm very happy to know that while I will never see these works in person, the important work of coral regeneration gets a boost in money and resources every time monied visitors indulge themselves, while the exhibit is on display.
The Phantasy Fairytale exhibition by Andreas Franke first premiered on March 4 and will be on display until the end of May this year. To find out more about visiting the exhibit in person you can find more information HERE.


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