Catherine Nelson's underwater photographs look more like stills from a surreal children's film than images of real underwater biomes, but there's a reason for their fantastic appearance: each of her photos are actually composites of more than 1,000 images. The series, entitled 'Submerged,' layers underwater photographs to create pictures far more captivating than any of the originals.
Nelson wasn't afraid to get her feet wet when taking the pictures; at a pond in her hometown of Ghent, Belgium, the photographer would slowly submerge herself chest-deep in water, moving as little as possible to avoid stirring the mire and clouding her shots. Pointing her camera upwards from near the pond bed, she proceeded to take thousands of photos at a time. After sifting through these images for highlights, the end results were dense, verdant waterscapes filled with lilies, fish and algae.
Nelson's idealized underwater photographs can be read as a response to an otherwise deteriorating natural environment.