02_6I've always been fascinated, maybe even obsessed with the ocean. I didn't see it, swim in it, experience it until I was about 12 years old, but I dreamed long before that. People always told me you can hear the ocean in a conch shell, so I would put my ear as far in as I could, close my eyes, and pretend I was really by the sea. But my first step in was awe-some. It was cold and powerful and the sound, the sound was the best part.03_7 23_26 When I started using my film camera I was a senior in high school and one of my first times using it was at a beach in South Padre, TX. The ocean there didn't seem as magnificent as it did on my first visit (Texas beaches just don't have those blue waves that you dream about), but when I developed the shots I was taken aback. The straight lines, the solemn waves, the monochromatic colors - it was all so peaceful. Every ocean visit since then I've taken the same shot - straight on, letting the sea speak for itself - and every time I get the prints, the awe-filled reaction seems to grow.

Something so big, so powerful, yet so utterly calm and peaceful. It astonishes me and when I find myself stepping into the waves, being with the movement, I realize that I am a part of something much greater than a personal experience. That's what I try to capture with these photographs. The sea is bigger than any one human, but at the same time it is a common ground, a common experience, and that just really excites me.R1-04349-016A R1-04349-017A06510015June 1st I'm releasing a story for considerthewldflwrs' new collection - From the Shore. I've been completely inspired by this process and I'm so excited about the ideas that have come from spending time with this subject. Good things, guys, really good things. Now, go find your way to the sea and have a swim date for me.

Film series by: Leah Gray (it's an ongoing series so follow along on my portfolio!)