Under the Sea: Paul Marcellini’s ‘Meet Your Biscayne Neighbors’

A few weeks ago, Gray Malin’s captivating aerial photos of beaches around the world got us all excited for summer.

Now, with stifling city heat officially upon us, many of our New York friends are probably either pursuing or dreaming of tropical waters. We all dearly love the Jersey Shore, Long Island and the beaches of New England, but come on – you know you dream of South Florida from time to time (in both summer and winter).

Florida photographer Paul Marcellini captures stunningly detailed images of Florida’s incredible marine life in “Meet Your Biscayne Neighbors,” a display at Biscayne National Park’s Dante Fascell Visitor Center Gallery in Homestead, Fla. The series is part of a worldwide “Meet Your Neighbors” (MYN) photographic initiative, which aims to help people appreciate their local ecosystems.

Photos for MYN are shot to very strict guidelines designed to spotlight the subjects without harming them or removing them from their natural surroundings. Subjects appear against plain white backgrounds, bringing out their unique intricacies and creating a wide collection of uniform portraits of plants and animals around the world.

Abiding by MYN field studio requirements, Marcellini built a portable studio tank with plexiglass walls. He briefly captured his subjects in the tank to photograph them, and then immediately released them back into the ocean afterward.

Marcellini told the Huffington Post that he took the MYN project on because he wanted to raise awareness and draw attention to the often-overlooked beauty of Florida’s creatures, such as the Man o’ War:

“People here associate negatively with [the Man o’ War]. You get stung, it’s painful -but it’s such a beautiful creature when you get the light coming through,” Marcellini said. “Those fluorescents are amazing.”

“Meet Your Biscayne Neighbors” is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. through September 2 at the Dante Fascell Visitor Center Gallery.

If you can’t make it down to Florida this summer, here are a few of Marcellini’s images to help take your mind to the tropics for a brief escape:

Photo by Paul Marcellini

Photo by Paul Marcellini

Photo by Paul Marcellini

Photo by Paul Marcellini