Diving 27 meters underwater, the light turns a deep, hazy blue. Emerging from the darkness, three ballerinas in white tutus stretch their legs on the deck of a sunken military ship.
It’s not a ghostly apparition but one of a series of haunting photographs displayed in the only underwater gallery of its kind in the world.
The 12 sumptuous images of everyday scenes — from a housewife hanging out washing to a teenager watching TV — take place against the eerie backdrop of sunken ship USNS General Hoyt S.Vandenberg.
The 10,000 ton ship — located off the coast of Florida — functions as both the backdrop in these evocative photographs and, for a time, the gallery wall on which they’re hung.
“Divers must have been checking their oxygen levels to make sure they weren’t seeing things,” said Jed Dodd, executive director of The Studios of Key West, which showed the Vandenberg Project exhibition.
“Diving is already a dreamlike experience and I think these images really correspond with what people imagine an underwater world might look like.”
Viennese artist Andreas Franke, who worked as an advertising photographer for more than 20 years, took the powerful images while on a diving exhibition last year.
Sunk just off Key West , an island in the Straits of Florida, in 2009, the Vandenberg is the second-largest artificial reef in the world, attracting a diverse range of marine animals and plant life.