Deep in the waters off the coast of Barbados there lies a merchant vessel lost to fire long ago, the SS Stavronikita. Permanently enshrined as a scaffold for a coral reef, the ship has become a haven for all matter of undersea life since its demise. The result is an intricate web of lifeforms clinging to and moving about the silent ship, muting the hard man-made edges of the structure while adorning it with the most interesting of shapes and textures. It is some of these values (as well as some existential bullshit about the obvious "life finds a way" metaphor that permeates these kinds of landscapes) that initially drew the attention of photographer (and photo manipulator) Andreas Franke, in his "The Sinking World" series. Juxtapositions of the sunken ship with period costumes may seem like something out of a Celine Dion music video circa 1997, but the images are fresh, and the subject matter flippant. Rococo (the style of his costumed models) glorified an aesthetic of excess--Can you put any more gold leaf on that? Then do it. Cover everything else in and mink and lace? Done. The result is a ballooning of textures and decadence that works as a nice focal point for the silent, grave-like silhouettes of the dead ship, also decadently adorned by festive corals. While too much of this kind of kind of art can descend into pure kitsch, these, and the rest Franke's work are definitely worth the browse.
Check these and more out at Franke's website: The Sinking World