Week 8 – Experimental

The focus this week has been to re-visit one of my most enjoyed photography past times, the ‘half in half out’ process. This is the ability to capture an image showing half underwater and half above.

As with underwater images, I have explored this concept in past modules, and as with week seven experimental listing, I have also considered not pushing image forward for my WIP in this module as I am still looking to develop better stills capturing methods to take this method further.

However, this may change as I develop my WIP.

The reason I enjoy this work so much is that it allows me to connect two worlds in a way that compels the observer to want to look. It is a scene that, as with underwater views, few get to enjoy.

In developing this work, I have been inspired by several artists working in this field.

The Japanese artist Asako Narahashi emerges herself half in water to take her images. Generally taken from the sea, the bobbing up and down of the waves causes the camera motion to blur, with the land becoming part obscured by the water and the scene beyond the waves become detached and lost.


Figure 1

These images seem more abstract than anything which is a quality I like. I also like that the method used is very transferable to the river.

The critical issue would be the narrative and what scene the river water would obstruct or enhance. It could, however, work for my practice in a way that produces much more abstract images.

What does strike me is the use and effect of light on the frame and how it comments and highlights vital details, such as the waves emanating Mt Fuji in the far distance. This study of light could become part of my WIP as a reference to how it travels on and through the water. This is an idea I can see developing.

The Danube River Project by Andreas Mueller-Pohle is also a significant source of inspiration. This is a project that studied the rapid changes that have been made to the river Danube and its natural, technical and cultural form from the impact of people and a changing political landscape.

Besides images, Mueller-Pohle also collected river water samples from the source of each scene and embedded them onto the frame. Thus giving the aesthetical view, artistic statement and an ecological reminder of the impact society has on nature.


Figure 2

I find these images very appealing as they give abstract views of the river and can show a host of cultural subjects as part of the work.

It is also appealing to me to show aquatic life in one half and human in the other half of the frame, as a possible expansion of my practice

By way of an experiment, I attempted to develop this idea further by using video instead of stills. The following film is an example of the result.

Overall I am mildly pleased with this result as a test, despite the camera motion – which would not be acceptable in any formal exhibition or WIP. It has proven that this concept is harder than it looks to achieve.

The issue it seems is, that with a stills image you can line up the horizon and frame with comparative ease, this allows for an effective result.

When employing video, however, this becomes much harder. The water current, non-stable river bed and the limits of my technology mean that more suitable ways are needed to get good results.

While I am happy with the first film, the camera is notably moving. The footage is slowed down as a matter of course as I find river water looks better on film when flowing slower than its natural rate. This change in the natural scene can also bring the observer in to see more detail – such as leafs floating past or movement in the riverbed.

Mueller-Pohle as with Narahashi, therefore, are significant influences in my current practice and I am very much drawn to their achievements. I do feel however that this work can be evolved to a new level and I am now looking at possible options to achieve this.





  • Figure 1 – NARAHASHI, Asako. 2003. Kawaguchiko #4.[Photograph] (source media)
  • Figure 2 – MUELLER-POHLEAndreas. Ingolstadt, Germany. 0633 [Photograph] (source media)