Sea by Mark Laita: a stunning collection of sea creature portraits that illustrate the fascinating world beneath the surface and reveal the unknown beauty of the deep

Mark Laita, Sea

Published 2011 by Hachette Australia (first published 2011 in USA by Abrams), 200p

I am not a good swimmer and I am afraid of water. The infinity of the ocean scares me as everything else that I cannot understand or anticipate. I admire Australia’s wilderness and its pristine landscapes but I will always feel powerless and inefficient when trying to embrace its magnificence.

So when I came across Mark Laita’s Sea I was once again confirmed that our planet is more dynamic and more impressive than we think. Set against a black background there is a parade of bright, splendid sea creatures that define the elegance and diversity of the ocean but also its strangeness and secrecy.

To capture the unaltered colours and textures of these beautiful wild creatures Laita recreated the sea in his studio using custom-built fish tanks and to photograph the larger species he worked at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, the biggest aquarium in the world.

Underwater photographers have documented marine life many times before, but by treating these creatures as beautiful still-life objects, I have tried to present a more intimate and interesting portrayal of sea life. (Mark Laita, Introduction to Sea)

The book presents a wide range of species, from sea horses, stingrays and clown fish to eels, snails and sharks, all seized in their uniqueness. The contrast between the black background and the kaleidoscopic colours of the animals creates an amazing effect and the exhibits seem to jump off the page.

The back of the volume contains a reference section with information on each species (name, family, temperament, distribution).

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Photographs courtesy of Mark Laita.
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