Award-winning photographer Andreas Franke is known for pushing the boundaries of commercial photography, but diving is his passion. In 2010, Franke merged his talent and passion to create The Sinking World, an ongoing series of one of-a-kind underwater fine art photography projects. The stories of The Sinking World take place in the mystic surroundings of underwater scenery. They happen on sunken shipwrecks or in the middle of coral reefs. His idea was to bring life back to artificial reefs made from sunken ships to create a unique and interesting interaction between earlier decades and today.
Each work begins as a composite photograph—a collage of underwater photographs from submerged ships sunken as artificial reefs, combined with studio photographs representing people in scenes from everyday life as well as days gone by.The images are enchanting in their own right, but what makes these art projects particularly fascinating is where Franke chooses to display them. The final works are placed back at their origin, on the sunken ship that was used as their backdrop. The photographs are covered with plexiglass and carefully placed back onto the wreck where they originated, giving divers an opportunity to view them in an underwater exhibition. During their months under water, the sea wields its influence on each image resulting in a unique patina.
The world’s first underwater photo exhibit opened in 2011 on the USNS Vandenberg, a shipwreck off the coast of Key West, Florida. The response of visitors and the international media confirmed the widespread fascination with the idea and additional projects followed.