By Mark McConville
CAN YOU spot Loki? THIS FACE from the sea could be the most eerie sight you would encounter while gazing into an ocean storm.
The British photographer responsible for the incredible images of waves taken on the south coast of England depicted as Norse and Greek gods are set to be showcased shortly at a solo exhibition in Brighton.
The stunning pictures show crashing waves take the form of Norse god Loki, monster from Greek mythology Medusa and Poseidon, one of the Twelve Olympians in ancient Greek mythology who was god of the sea and other waters.
Other striking snaps show the violent ocean looking like Namazu, a giant catfish from Japanese mythology; a Leviathan which is a sea monster referenced in the Hebrew bible and Anapos, the water god of eastern Sicily in Greek mythology.
The surreal Sirens series by English photographer Rachael Talibart will be opening at the Brighton Photography Gallery in September 2018 while she also has a book available.
“Sirens is a series of storm waves captured on the south coast and named after mythological beings,” she said.
“As a child, I used to pass long hours on deck by imagining landscapes and creatures in the waves. As an adult, I studied Homer’s Odyssey and loved all those stories about sea monsters and gods.
“These influences have come together in my Sirens portfolio. Rather than using photography in a documentary way, I like to show subjects in a way that surprises and offers a fresh perspective.
“Using very fast shutter speeds, I have frozen the motion of the waves at a moment that makes them seem to have a character of their own.
“I began the series in 2016 and it is ongoing, and evolving. Some of the earlier photographs have been collected in a fine art photo book published by Triplekite, called ‘Sirens’.”
Each frame is titled after a mythical sea creature or Norse or Greek god. In Loki, an alien face appears in the waves, bringing the Norse god crashing down on the viewer. While at other times, the form of the wave itself recalls the god after which it’s named (e.g. Medusa).
Talibart explained how the ocean is a huge source of inspiration to her thanks to her upbringing on the West Sussex coast as part of a yachting family.
“Those early years at sea left their mark, however, and I have been fascinated with the ocean ever since, even if I now prefer to experience it from the shore,” she said.
“There are many experiences that can remind us of our own insignificance. Sometimes, this is unpleasant – I remember queuing with my family for a ride at Universal Picture Studios, many years ago, and suddenly feeling like the smallest of ants in the biggest of ant farms. It wasn’t a good feeling.
“Struggling to stand in front of the full force of Storm Imogen, however, I felt small again, but in a very different way. The sea was simultaneously beautiful and terrifying that day and, if I had been foolish enough to stand too close, I could easily have been carried away.
“I was made utterly insignificant and, yet, felt completely enriched by that encounter with wildness. Moments like these inspire because they expand our experience and make us see the world in a new light. They exist at the boundaries of the known and unknown.
“They are, in fact, what prompt the making of myth and legend. For me, the ocean will always be a potent source of inspiration. It makes small, unimportant things of us all yet, at the same time, it is exhilarating and profoundly life affirming.”
For more information see https://www.rachaeltalibart.com/books