Underwater Photography of Florida’s Diverse Ecosystem


Florida is world-renowned for many things; as a tourist spot, the festive beaches, a strong Hispanic presence, hi-rise condominiums as well as the Backstreet Boys. However, not spoken much about is the state’s biodiversity which is extraordinary. Florida features countless amazing ecosystems, from the delicate springs and pure rivers of the north to the south’s Big Cypress National Preserve and Everglades National Park. Florida boasts of saltwater and freshwater marshes, wet and dry prairies, acres of primeval swamp, hardwood hammocks and even mangrove forests. Photographer Karen Glaser knows all too well that these marvelous ecosystems should be documented, which is what she does in her collection called Springs.

karen glaser

Glaser captures the richness and diversity of the ecosystems in addition to the natural world that flourishes in the sunshine state. Springs is meant not to be pigeonholed into any kind of photographic essay. It is neither panoramic, documentary nor artistic expression. Using just natural light that penetrates through the foliage, each image is as faithful to the real thing as possible, and has zero digital intervention.

karen glaser photo series florida underwater

Springs is a work in progress that explores the complexity and beauty of nature, and how it is under threat from today’s lifestyle. Since the early 1990’s, Glaser has journeyed through Florida, with most of her attention trained on the swamps and springs. Much of her landscape photography is captured from underwater, seizing the natural light and life of this unknown environment.  Glaser likes to refer to it as “the living and breathing matter that seasons the soup and reflects, refracts, and bends the light to create its complexity.”

florida underwater photography

The website ArtSWFL recently posted this about Glaser:

“For more than two decades, Karen Glaser has been photographing underwater ecosystems, including deep water oceans, coastal reefs, freshwater springs, outdoor swimming pools, and wild swamplands. Taking her camera both above and below the surface of America’s coastal waters and Florida’s wetlands, she has captured diverse forms of life that have existed since prehistoric times. Glaser’s photographs of these remote spaces have a timeless quality in the tradition of Audubon’s ornithological watercolors or Da Vinci’s water drawings. Taken with a 35mm camera and only using available light, the images appear distinctively grainy, further abstracting these rarely seen worlds. They elevate the complexity and fragility of aquatic systems that lie beyond the day-to-day perspective of most people.”

photos florida underwater

florida underwater photos

florida underwater

See Glaser’s Springs here along with her other fine work.

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Patricia Ramos

Patricia Ramos

I am a freelance photographer who is no stranger to smudged lenses, long hours in front of the computer, heavy camera bags (and the back aches that ensued) and missing lens caps. If you know what I'm talking about, you probably have as much love and passion for photography as I do.