A Stunning Look At Aussie Photographer Luke Shadbolt's New Exhibition

04/05/2016 2:03 PM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:52 PM AEST
Luke Shadbolt

He's arguably best known for being the other half of Gary Pepper. As fashion influencer Nicole Warne's fiancé, Luke Shadbolt is the photographer who takes all of her photos.

Though when he's not shooting Warne, he's taking stunning snaps of the surf. His nature work is so damn beautiful it deserves kudos in its own right, which is why were so glad he's hosting first solo exhibition ‘Maelstrom’ at the Michael Reid Gallery in Sydney from May 4th -- May 28th, as part of the Head On Photo Festival.

Shot during the volatile El Nino season of 2016, Maelstrom documents the duality of nature -- creation and destruction -- in a single act.

“I like the idea of the viewer attempting to understand how these abstract forms were created. It takes some exploration to interpret what is actually going on," Shadbolt said.

Can't get to the exhibition? No sweat. Here's a look at some of his breathtaking work.

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"Late in the afternoon, the setting sun shining through the lip creates these vibrant emerald greens and golds, contrasting against the darker sea surface. This light and dark is a physical representation of the concept behind the series. The idea of balance in nature."

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"These waves are formed when a large uniformed swell comes in at the right angle and distance apart for a suitable coastline. When one wave of the set crashes against the cliff-face and refracts back out to sea, it meets up with another wave from the set of the same power and size heading into shore and causes this chaotic creation as they collide."

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"It is hard to offer a sense of scale with such abstract forms and I wanted to keep the scene as simple and stripped back as possible, but to give some context to the size, the wave at the bottom quarter of the frame is around 10-15ft. Having two waves of this size crashing into each other creates the sort of maniacal flares that is happening in these scenes and realistically, I would say it’s anywhere from 50-100ft high. To put a person in that ocean anywhere near these waves, it would just rip them apart."

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"In one of the most active El Nino seasons on record, there was an abundance of activity all over the Pacific Ocean during the early months of 2016. These swells offer a cursory glimpse of the exchange, cycle and balance of power fundamental to the functioning of our planet and its oceans."

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"I’d travelled for the last 5 years as a surf photographer searching and shooting perfect waves, so this project was a decided turn against that notion. I wanted to search out and document the most violent ocean activity I could find. I hadn’t planned to shoot this during an El Nino event, but serendipitously the elements aligned to create some of the biggest swell on record."

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"Taking the concept behind the series further, it’s about the idea of the duality of nature on a physical and sociological level. Physical nature and human nature. Using the cycles of nature as it’s physical form, Maelstrom encourages the viewer to reflect upon our own naivety and place as a species within the greater natural balance of power."

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"These are cycles that we as humans so often ignore, or neglect to respect and are barely beginning to understand. In the context of time, our reign on this planet is a fleeting, violent and chaotic event in itself."

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