Photography: Zena Holloway

Photos: Zena Holloway We were left utterly speechless when one of our readers sent us a link to award-winning underwater photographer Zena ...

Photos: Zena Holloway
We were left utterly speechless when one of our readers sent us a link to award-winning underwater photographer Zena Holloway's website.

There is always something mysterious, beautiful and romantic about water, and Zena has captured them wonderfully. She has also graciously sent us some of her favourite photographs and excerpts from her past interviews.

"I think the title of ‘underwater photographer’ sounds far more glamorous than it actually is. I spend a lot of time wet and cold sitting around waiting for this or that. Spending 10 or 12 hours a day swimming around in water is actually quite tough on the body which becomes very dehydrated and at the end of a long shoot I’m usually knackered. If it wasn’t for the lure of creating the perfect image I would have given it up years ago."

Corporate Clients: How to Spend it, GQ, Vanity Fair, The Observer, 125, Quintessentially Magazine, Sunday Times, JFW, Twill, Dazed and Confused, Vision, Random, Neon, Rosebuzz, National Geographic, Georg Jensen, Westfield, Speedo, Radox (Grey), Rosemount Wine (RKCR/Y&R), Nike (Next big thing), Herbal Essences (Leo Burnett), Umbro (Exposure), Olay (Saatchi & Saatchi NY), Vogue (Joshua), Bounty (Publicis NY), Jacuzzi (Y&R San Fran), Greenpeace (Saatchi & Saatchi) Dolland & Aitchison (DFGW), Elastoplast (TBWA), Toto (Steele +) Sony (TBWA), EMI/Parlaphone, GlaxoSmithKline (Ogilvy), Epson (Burkitt DDB), Unibanco (Bates)


WARNING: MILD NUDITY!





Do you only photograph in water tanks or also in the open sea/ocean? Which sea ocean is your favorite?
Open water is completely fantastic when its at its best but fluctuations in the weather (particularly these days) often makes it hard to achieve the best results. Shooting at a studio gives the photographer complete control of lighting and visibility which is frequently not the case when shooting in the sea.

During my time as a SCUBA instructor I worked in the Red Sea and the Caribbean for many years. I’m familiar with both seas surrounding these areas and very comfortable guiding a diving group or orchestrating a photographic crew. The ‘grass is always greener’ or rather in this case the ‘sea is always bluer’ in the oceans that I haven’t experienced so I’d have to vote the Indo Pacific ocean as my favorite because I haven’t been there yet, I’m waiting for a commission to have the excuse to go.



Do you only photograph in water tanks or also in the open sea/ocean? Which sea ocean is your favorite?
Open water is completely fantastic when its at its best but fluctuations in the weather (particularly these days) often makes it hard to achieve the best results. Shooting at a studio gives the photographer complete control of lighting and visibility which is frequently not the case when shooting in the sea.



Where do you usually go when shooting in a swimming pool is not enough?
There are a couple of really good underwater stages in London. A lot of big feature films such as Bond, Harry Potter, Tomb Raider etc. are made here and most of them have underwater scenes. These kind of films support the studios and when they’re not in use I’m able to nip in and use them. I would love to return to my roots and shoot more in the ocean but sadly budgets don’t normally stretch that far.



Can you tell me about the series you sent me?
(The Sirens series) In Greek mythology sirens lured sailors to destruction by means of their beautiful, irresistible song. In a liquid world of unearthly transparency and effortless grace these modern sirens wear gowns by Herm├Ęs, Alexander McQueen, Versace and Dior.



Which animal is the most beautiful underwater?
It has to be the octopus: smart, capricious, sensual and exotic.



What was your first camera? How did you get it? Is there any story about it?
My first camera was a little yellow underwater motor marine made by Sea & Sea which looked far more like a children’s toy than a camera. My mother bought if for me for my 18th birthday present when I was working abroad in Egypt as a SCUBA dive guide. From there I swatted up on underwater photography with a few books that I found lying around the diving centre and I taught myself the basics of shooting underwater. I seem to remember getting it wrong a lot of the time at the start but slowly the pictures improved and I learned how to measure light and what made a good image. My first great subject was a blue spotted ray who kindly sat for me for about 20 minutes as I fumbled with the settings. I still have the pictures.



What was your dream to be when you a little girl? Has it come true?
I wanted to be a trapeze artist or an acrobat. I don’t think I had the imagination to dream up the career that I have now made for myself!



Is there a message you would like people to find in your art?
It gives me a huge sense of satisfaction to create and if I hadn’t found my way to photography I’m sure I would have discovered another creative profession. I’m a photographer firstly for my own satisfaction. If others like what I do then that’s a bonus. My challenge is always to create imagery that is strong, original and emotive. Other than that there is no message.

Visit Zena Holloway's Official Site

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