Mysteries of Loch Ness
Mysteries of Loch Ness (2015)
A subset of the photo series Unexplored Frontiers. Two images appearing to depict the Loch Ness Monster.
Mysteries of Loch Ness (2015)
Statement by Sumeet Banerji
There is a parallel between the ocean and outer space. They are metaphors for each other. The planets, like islands are physical formations that drift on the ocean. Both are vast empty spaces where we can't breathe. We explore them both through, what are essentially submarines. It is also interesting that the word 'ship' is used to describe the vehicles that help us travel through them. Even though there is less ocean on Earth than outer space, the feeling of being in both is comparable.
The Loch Ness monster reminded me a little of the stuff I loved as a child - UFOs, monsters, aliens, mystical forces, but there was something a little different about this one. For the most part, the question of the existence of The Loch Ness Monster seemed like a benign and ultimately inconsequential one. It does not pose any real threat, and the stories around it are (as can be seen by the name) hyper-localized. It was a mystery that felt to me that we were trying to solve for the pure joy of it, the possibility that we may be taken by surprise.
The Giant Squid
I encountered the story of the search for the Giant Squid a few years ago. The Giant Squid is an animal, whose existence for most of recorded history (that I am aware of) was inferred by the presence of giant suction marks on the carcasses of large whales. The first photographs of the animal in its natural environment were taken in 2004 by the zoologist Tsunemi Kubodera and the whale watcher Kyoichi Mori in Japan. They reported that it took them over two years to obtain these photographs. The process was elaborate, and required a combination of customized techniques and luck.
The Giant Squid is a huge animal, up to 13m long. It exhibits what is known as 'deep sea gigantism' which is a tendency for animals living in deep water to adapt and become much bigger than their shallow water counterparts. I am fascinated by the fact that it is so difficult to photograph, and even locate even though it is so enormous. It speaks to the vastness of its habitat.
These creatures are made to look like alien beings that drift through space. This way of looking at the underwater creatures is the guiding vision for this series.
For me, The Loch Ness Monster fits the bill of alien-ness especially well because it lives on what I call 'the edge of believability.' Phenomena we can't trust for sure, but are in some way, totally plausible.
A Note on the Medium
I wanted to 1) make sure the large creatures look huge and 2) make them look like they were swimming in a vast space. I also wanted convincing looking pictures of the Loch Ness Monster so that ruled out the possibility of creating the images from a real submarine. I went to a toy store and purchased a few underwater creatures. I found that when I placed them on my scanner, they looked huge in the images because anything that isn't directly on the scanner bed goes out of focus very quickly.
The Mysteries of Loch Ness appears in the First Edition of Ice Party. They are part of the story.
San Francisco 2017