Photographer Charles Seaborn is in love with the ocean, and he wants to share that love with everyone. The 57-year-old looks like a kid again when he talks about marine photography and the awe, reverence, and respect for nature it invests in him. The Carmel resident sees photography and art as the hub that can connect people back to the natural world by showing it to them in a whole new way.
Seaborn has been a marine wildlife photographer for years, but his new series of abstract tide pool images showcases a different approach to his work. “I’ve been looking at the surface of the ocean for decades,” he said. “One day I just started looking at it differently. I saw the reflection on the surface of the water and thought I could capture it.”
The results are startling; Seaborn’s abstracts are a refracted collage of light and color that showcases the complexity of the ocean floor. Seaborn spends hours waiting and watching his subject, searching for the perfect combination of strong midday light, tidal movement, surface disturbance, and, above all, the feeling that the right moment has finally come to click the shutter. Unlike most photographers, Seaborn doesn’t shoot roll after roll of film. A day of work gives him only a dozen or so images, which he then pares down to one or two of the best. What makes an image stand out? “How it makes me feel,” said Seaborn.
Seaborn only recently began considering the emotional content of his photos. His potent love of the ocean makes Seaborn’s work very personal, and he hopes that, even in our technology-soaked age, he can help kindle that same passion for the simple beauty of nature in others. He is compiling two books, one of his tide pool images tentatively titled Ocean Abstracts and another tentatively titled Big Sur Wildland.
“I’ve gotten to the point now where I’ve been looking at the ocean for long enough that I think I’m finally ready to show people the way I see it,” he said. He is considering launching a website, but for now encourages people to contact him directly for more of his work. “Just email me,” he said. “I‘d love to share.” Contact Charles Seaborn at: email@example.com.
TEXT BY Adam L. Brinklow
PHOTOGRAPHY BY Charles Seaborn