Over the last three years, Mark Tipple has dedicated himself to a unique form of underwater photography that he calls The Underwater Project.
In late 2009, Tipple was looking for ways to showcase the humanitarian projects he was working on, and after years of photographing surf, he happened upon an image that would re-direct his career. While shooting shorebreak, Tipple dove under a wave and noticed a group of kids next to him, thrashing and struggling under the whitewash. He turned his camera, fired off a quick shot, and realized that this was the angle he’d been looking for. That picture, entitled Escape, gave birth to The Underwater Project.
An “ongoing reportage of Australia’s relationship with the ocean,” The Underwater Project has gained much acclaim in mainstream media. It’s Tipple’s wish, though, that recognition for the UWP will transfer to his documentary series focusing on social justice issues. “Some of the people that I’ve worked with in Fiji and Indonesia deserve a lot more recognition than a couple of guys splashing about in the ocean. Hopefully there will be a flow on effect from The Underwater Project to the documentary series,” says Tipple.
Having worked closely with organizations seeking social change in Australia and surrounding countries, his progression has seen the development of Gallery for Justice, a not-for-profit that aims to “bridge the gap between people with a mind for social justice and traditional print media.” Essentially, they’re creating a platform where social justice takes precedence over celebrity gossip.
Although Mark’s portfolio is extensive, he’s found that many corporate media and sponsored exhibitions avoid shows that focus on subjects as serious as social justice. “Advertisers don’t want to see their advertisements on the other side of a social justice or a poverty story, and they’re funding the magazines. All these amazing stories are being shied away from.”