The Sea Inside no. 4523

"Meticulous editing and printmaking help Svjetlana Tepavcevic turn her 'wave portraits' into complex works of abstract art."

––Conor Risch

("Sea Inside," Photo District News, Feb. 2011)

"For me it is all that water can be, all that ocean is for us."

––Dr. Anthony Bannon

(Juror talk, Portfolio Show, Atlanta Photography Group, Dec. 4, 2010)

The Sea Inside

The Sea Inside is a series of abstract black-and-white images exploring the energy, complexity and individuality of ocean waves. More than simply being photographic representations, the images in The Sea Inside are unique and subjective interpretations, imbued with my emotional connection to the sea.

In the summer of 2008, a world away from the Adriatic Sea, I began to photograph waves. The desire was instinctive and almost inexplicable. Now my eyes beheld the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans, vast and mighty waters quite different from the calm cove of the Adriatic I once knew and still know in my memories. Ocean waves are untamable, but I photographed them as if I could somehow tame them, as if I could calm them and find peace inside them.

Fraught with dualities and complexities, waves are a metaphor for life. Mysterious and violent, at once they symbolize birth and destruction; force and fragility; chaos and peace. The same force that gives them life takes it away, often in the course of a human breath. Waves come and go, too fast for the eye to focus on their fleeting gestures, so our minds find comfort in their predictability and similarity. And yet, no two waves are ever alike––they embody the idea of the infinite.

When I look at waves, I see invisible winds carving and crushing nameless sculptures never to be seen again. I also see reflections of myself as if I disappeared among waves. "It is a place of faith," Ondaatje wrote of the desert. The same could be said of the sea. For me it is a place of consolation, a place where my faith in life is renewed.    PDF