Photographer and military wife Deb Schwedhelm is no stranger to relocation. Every few years, she packs up her family, three children in tow, and moves to a new state, country, or continent. She takes each new setting as an opportunity to pause and reflect, exploring herself as a photographer and artist. While living in Florida, close to the sea, she decided to venture into underwater photography. The resulting series, From the Sea, beautifully captures her children and friends immersed in water, an allegory to their lives, shifting and moving with the tides.
In From the Sea, young bodies and adolescent beauty emerge from black pools of water. The sea is a generally a place where children are free, full of life and joy. These images, however, evoke a darker, more somber emotion. As Schwedhelm says in her artist statement, the sea “forces us to tread, swim and stay afloat through the changes.” While she remains safely behind the lens, the photos are a reflection of herself, moving in and out of focus, allowing the uncertainty of the water illustrate her journey.
Schwedhelm has had the privilege of meeting iconic photographers Sally Mann, Mary Ellen Mark and Jock Sturges. She had the opportunity to attend a workshop run by Mary Ellen Mark and has been personally mentored by Jock Sturges. Their influence in her work is clearly evident – in both subject matter and style.
All images © Deb Schwedhelm