Serenity by Justin Bruhn - Pure Underwater Imaging

Sunshine Coast Art Commission

It was an honour to be commissioned by the Sunshine Coast Council to supply artwork for the recent Beerwah Aquatics Centre refurbishment. Since becoming a resident of the Sunshine Coast, I’ve experienced an enormous amount of growth here in South East Queensland and it’s exciting to be involved in such an innovative project that will benefit Sunshine Coast residents for many years to come.

As a photographer and artist, my focus is on raising awareness for our endangered and vulnerable marine life with my images. With this in mind, I was fortunate and privileged to be invited by the councillors involved to showcase images of humpback whales and the endangered green turtle.

Both species are iconic to the Sunshine Coast and can be found along the eastern seaboard of Australia. The green turtle can be found all year round, usually close to reef structures, rocky headlands and seagrass beds where they feed.

Humpback whales can be seen swimming north off the coast around June/July when making the journey from Antarctica up to the warmer waters of northern Australia and the Pacific Islands to mate and breed. They can then be seen around Sep/October, sometimes very close to shore as the mothers keep their calves safe from predators on the journey back down south to the plankton rich waters of Antarctica where they will feed again.

Both green turtle images are from my ‘Open Edition’ collection. ‘Captivation‘ is an image of a beautiful big old green turtle that I had a very memorable swim with near the coral gardens area of Lady Elliot Island on the Southern Great Barrier Reef back in February of 2017. ‘Charisma’ was also a green turtle image captured from the same area on an earlier trip to the Southern Great Barrier Reef.

The humpback whale images were captured off the island of Vava’u in Tonga in the South Pacific Islands back in October of 2016. The largest piece of artwork, a 2m x .95m panoramic print of a humpback whale mother and calf was a particularly special moment for me as I was privileged to witness this beautiful interaction between mother and calf. This piece is titled ‘Journey’ as I believe these whales were about to embark on their journey back down to Antarctica.

The second humpback whale image, ‘Breathe’ is of a cheeky humpback whale calf that swam away from the protection of her mother to take a closer look at me. A respectful distance needs to be kept at all times between humans and whales so as not to cause unnecessary stress to these animals as they need to conserve their energy stores for the long swim back to Antarctica. It’s a privilege to have a whale bridge the gap and swim towards you. Truly an unforgettable moment to make eye contact with a humpback whale calf and a treasured memory that I will never forget!

It’s a great feeling for me to know that many young people coming to the aquatics centre to train in their swim squads will see these images on the walls and hopefully be inspired to learn more about these magnificent marine creatures and contribute in some way to their protection in the future.

Ethereal by Justin Bruhn - Pure Underwater Imaging

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