Underwater Experiment

photo by Alexis Coram

As you may know, last weekend I had the incredible opportunity to work with Alexis Coram on an underwater photography project that she has been wanting to pursue for a while.

I was so excited when she approached me about being a part of the shoot- I had also been wanting to do a project with underwater photography ever since I saw photos from Design Love Fest of a similar idea- but without proper gear, actually making that happen seemed pretty bleak and unrealistic. As you can imagine- this was absolutely the kind of creative experiment that I wanted to be involved in!

Though I have had a little bit of experience in modeling here and there in the past, once we were at the location I quickly realized that posing for a photo became much more challenging when submerged in a pool, as I found that it was extremely difficult trying to maneuver everything at once!

But even so, I tried to find ways to manage my way through the heavy materials of some the dresses I was wearing while also trying not to get tangled in the fabric of the backdrop- while simultaneously  trying to open my eyes completely, hold my breath (without making a strange “breath-holding face”) and stay under the surface of the water long enough to capture a few shots at a time.

Throughout the entire shoot I also kept on feeling as though my eyes were wide open- but as it turned out, for many of the shots they were closed! I guess I have just grown so used to closing my eyes without goggles that it was difficult to try to make my body do anything different!

Beforehand I had thought that it would be very easy, as having had many years of experience as a swimmer I am no stranger to treading water and freezing cold pool temperatures, but it turned out that doing all these things at once was no easy feat! Even so, Alexis was able to still capture some fantastic shots- I absolutely love this one. She is such an incredible photographer- I can’t believe how mesmerizingly beautiful this photo turned out to be- and how graceful she made me appear! That alone shows the level of skill I was working with. Check out her website here if you get a chance- the way she uses light and composition in her photography is striking.

In the days up to the shoot, I also had some fun with preparation- she left it entirely up to me to do the styling- so I wandered around looking through a few second-hand stores, and ended up finding some great dresses to use at Goodwill and Leilani’s Thrift Shop. Then I grabbed some scissors and quickly created my own designs! I really threw in some creative efforts in reworking this blue leopard-print dress- by slicing up the front, removing the horrendously large 80’s shoulder-pads, adding ties around the neck, and cinching the waist!

Before (far left) and after altering a blue- leopard print 80’s dress that I got from Leilani’s Thrift Shop

I thought that it looked pretty great once I finished altering it, but unfortunately it didn’t move very easily in the water, and I’m not sure if even one good photo came from using it on the shoot. I will have to wait and see!

The other dresses (pictured below) were sliced up as well- I may have even gone a little overboard on my clothing manipulation here. The purple one was extremely long and way too large, so I sliced up the bottom half of the skirt into strips so that they would move well in the water, and also cinched the waist with the shawl.

The green one was far too big as well, so I simply snipped up the entire top bustier and used only the skirt- as you can see in the photograph! The fabric’s ability to reflect light so well worked perfectly with the aesthetics of the photo.

A purple dress also used on the shoot, which I cut into strips that were cut on the bottom – and the green dress that is featured in the photo above!

So far I have only seen this one photograph from the results of the shoot, but I am eager to find out if there are any more pictures that turned out well! We are going to try it again and hopefully I will be a bit more used to it by end of the next round- and will end up being a bit less awkward than I was this time.

My awkwardness may have been well-warranted though, considering how extremely busy I was was that weekend! (My sister was visiting for a few days from Seattle, I was working on social media for VOZ for Earth Day, I had class all morning on Saturday and  I had to write a short story for my creative writing class!) Maybe next time if I am a little more relaxed on set it will be easier.

midway through the shoot (I was really cold!) and the setup- a large white cloth draped into the pool and the camera that was used

Until then, I need to practice opening my eyes underwater! Are you looking forward to the next shoot as much as I am?



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