Do you like unusual, abstract portraits? Underwater photography? Or black and white images? Australian photographer Trent Mitchell brings these genres together in a magnificent series titled Inner Atlas. They show bodysurfers beneath the ocean waves, and they’ll take your breath away. DIYP chatted with Trent a bit about the project and all the challenges he faced while shooting. And this definitely was a challenging project to create!
Trent lives by the beach and loves traveling and enjoying the living world, and he’s been taking photos for over 15 years now. His favorite subjects are people in their element, especially in the natural world. In his work, he always tries to take photos from a new perspective and he tries out different techniques to create unrepeatable images.
The sea is a reoccurring theme in Trent’s work, as he tells DIYP. It’s a place where he’s spent a huge part of his life, so it’s no wonder that sea is one of his favorite themes. In the Inner Atlas project, he wanted to bring together two of his favorite themes: people and sea. But the challenge he posed to himself was to create something he’d never seen before with a subject he knew very well.
Then, the brainstorming began. Trent tells me it took him months of thinking about his new personal series, but one day it “clicked.”
“I had a cliche lightbulb moment and immediately I wrote down how to execute it. Bodysurfing, movement, skin, flash.”
The idea was born, and now it was time to turn it into a photo series. But figuring out what to shoot was only the first challenge Trent faced.
First of all, taking these photos was technically challenging for the photographer. He tells me that it took him quite some time to develop the right technique for the look he wanted. He also needed to find the right locations and times for the shoots.
Another challenge was that shooting was very physically demanding. As you can imagine, Trent spent a lot of time under the waves, photographing his subjects. “I took as many big wipeouts as the guys I was photographing,” he tells DIYP, “I put myself in compromising positions for every shot.”
At the end of the day, this turned out to be the most challenging series Trent has ever created. But seeing the end result, I’d say it was well worth it. “There are so many variables that come down to each frame that it feels like magic when it all comes together,” Trent explains. And despite all the challenges, he managed to do what he imagined and he tells me that he’s really happy with the results.
Personally, I found these portraits captivating and it was difficult for me to stop staring at the photos. They carry a moody and even a bit dark feel for me, and I love it. Enjoy more photos from the project below, and check out more of Trent’s work on his website and Instagram. You can see more images from the Inner Atlas series via this link and by following Instagram hashtag #inneratlas.