'Akule Swarm" (all images copyright Wayne Levin)
By Todd Wilkinson
For most of us, enlightenment is a perpetual odyssey of ascent, toward the glow. We rise out of shadowy slumber, battling amnesia attached to our dreams, only to arrive groggy and—if we're lucky—awakened by morning sun.
We ask ourselves (if we still can remember them): Were the visions delivered to us real?
In Wayne Levin's underwater oeuvre, heightened awareness is achieved in reverse: We are plunged forth into a tenebrous tableau, escaping the comfortable world we know, sinking ever deeper through the aquasphere as shifting elemental forces rearrange perception. (Note: click on boxed images to make them larger).
Descending into the oceanic abyss, we are not put to sleep but jarred into a new state of consciousness, as if in the midst of unending REM.
Perhaps it is the primordial memory of amphibious ancestors calling us home to swim with sharks, whales, dolphins and seals; or maybe we are heeding beacon signals sent from long-lost Atlantis on the bottom.
Whatever archetypal allusion one desires to employ, Levin's entrancing photographs come across, first, as spare and stark yet they resonate in ways uncommon and lasting, even within the context of grand marine photography. Collectible prints of Levin's work adorn homes ringing the Pacific Ocean, from Alaska to Hawaii and Malibu to beachside cottages in South America.
For three decades, Levin'sportfolio has indeed attracted a cultish following, especially...
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Post Date:June 30th, 2010
'Brace yourself and seize the snorkel mask! Wayne Levin's underwater photographs will leave you mesmerized. Like Poseidon with a Nikonos V strapped to his arm, the Hawaiian lensman works primarily in black and white but his portrayals of sharks, whales, dolphins and fish schools will leave you riveted. Trust us: You've seldom seen photography like this before.
[Editor's Note: The latest book to feature Levin's work, Akule, was published in 2010.]