Haunting Depths

In his new series 'SINK / RISE', fine art photographer, Nick Brandt, offers a chilling underwater immersion into the lives of South Pacific Islanders.

The photos feature coastal residents of Fiji and represent those who stand to lose their homes, land and livelihoods due to rising sea levels.

Since 1880, the global average sea level has risen 8–9 inches (21–24 centimetres) and, in the near future, is predicted to displace 250 to 400 million people. Low-lying Pacific islands are particularly exposed to the physical impacts of sea level rise.

These haunting portraits, photographed underwater by Brandt, depict a ‘pre-apocalyptic reality’ that individuals like 15-year-old Akessa in slide 2 and Paul in slide 3 have yet to experience, but one day will if sea levels keep rising.

Taking each image in-camera, using only the setup in front of him, Brandt highlights the raw vulnerability of island nations and symbolically represents a climate threat that is often hard to visualise.

'SINK / RISE' is the third chapter in a series titled 'The Day May Break', which showcases the global effects of the Climate Crisis and highlights the current fork in the road that society finds itself at when it comes to protecting our planet.

Brandt's approach doesn't dictate a singular message but rather invites viewers to interpret their own meaning. Nevertheless, his hope is that these images serve as a stark reminder of the imminent challenges we face, inspiring bold climate action and awareness.

“The day may break and the earth may shatter, or the day may break and the dawn still come.” - Nick Brandt

Photo credits: Nick Brandt

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