Photographer Zev Schmitz took a deep breath and created an incredible architecture photoseries of New York City. Every photo was taken from the waters that surround Manhattan.

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It’s a bit like seeing the near-death experience of a drowning person. But it also feels like you’re seeing a majestic new world emerging.

The fast-moving cold current and underwater camera housing caused difficulties in shooting. But the real challenge came from commuter ferries, barges, and frequent stops by the NYPD and U.S. Coast Guard. “You’re certainly not supposed to swim in the river, this was a pretty big risk,” Schmitz told Gizmodo. “Hopefully publishing these won’t cause more trouble than I’ve already gotten in.”

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The series title is Island of Manhattan, and Schmitz explained why:

It aims to recontextualize New York City by moving away from the rich language of the street photography we know so well and framing Manhattan as the geographic island that it has always been. From the water surrounding the island, new perspectives of the urban jungle appear. The architecture is juxtaposed with unfamiliar buildings and spaces rarely seen reveal themselves above splashing waves.

Check the whole photoset on the photographer’s page.

All photos by Zev Schmitz, republished here with permission.