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16 Timeless Photos of the Sea that Will Inspire You

Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand © Helena Sofia de Kok, Wellington, NZ

Florida Cold Front © David Friske, Hollywood, FL

Land’s End © Angela Marklew, Venice, CA

The Print Swap is a global initiative connecting photographers around the world. Anyone and everyone can submit via Instagram using the hashtag #theprintswap. As of this writing, well over 25,000 images have been considered for the swap. About 1200 of them have been chosen to be part of the project thus far. Every winner of The Print Swap receives a surprise print from another winner, and all the prints are made at Skink Ink in Brooklyn before being shipped off to cities and countries across the globe.

We recently put together a New Topographics group show in honor of some of our previous Print Swap winners, and this time, we took a look through the archive to find some of the best seascapes that have been part of the swap over the last year.

Photography, as a medium, has a reputation for passing fads and short attention spans, but a look through the history of seascapes reveals a more complicated reality. Yes, some subjects come and go, but others, like water, are eternal. In the 1850s, Gustave Le Gray, a pioneer in this new field called “art photography,” used glass negatives to make dramatic prints in Normandy and on the Mediterranean Coast. He printed them in daylight and later toned them with hydrochloric acid and gold chloride.

One hundred and fifty years later, the echoes of the Frenchman Gustave Le Gray can still be found in the work of the great Japanese photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto. The two artists, of course, will never meet, but their pictures, when viewed side-by-side, transcend the barriers of time and space. The two men both spent hours on the coast, making long exposures in all kinds of weather. The once-purple hue of Le Gray’s photographs have since faded, while Sugimoto’s blacks and whites remain and rich as ever, but despite all their differences, they somehow belong to the same chapter of history.

Seascapes persist, and as we combed over The Print Swap archive, we recognized the familiar influence of Le Gray, Sugimoto, and all who came before and after. We hope you enjoy this collection. As always, photographers are welcome to submit to The Print Swap by tagging their photos #theprintswap on Instagram.

All images submitted between July 1st and August 28th, 2017, will be considered for the first ever Print Swap exhibition at Photoville, NYC’s largest annual photography event. Visit our website and Instagram for more details.

Lake Erie No. 2 © Aimee McNamee, Lakewood, Ohio

Untitled © Ruud Hermans, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

View from the Camera Obscura at Ocean Beach, San Francisco 2016 © Kendra Rennick, Brooklyn, NY.

Fisherman on Lake Phayao © Matthew Brassington, Bath, UK

Honduras 2017 © Erin Campbell Hughes, Anderson, SC

Digging for Clams © Deborah Barak, New York, NY

Segue © Maureen Haldeman, Malibu, California

Chain surfing at Mahon Pool © Timothy Batterham, Redfern, New South Wales

Softening © Ellen Webber, Boston, MA

Surf au Dessus des Vagues © Yoann Ronot, Montastruc-la-Conseillère, France

Silver Mornings © Jessica Cantlin, Seattle, WA

Uncertain Horizon 42 © Arthur Hent, Paris, France

O Lobo Alentejano © Jonathan Ortegat, Brussels, Belgium

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