Photographer: Maisie Coulbert

Maisie, can you give us the back story of your image?

The shoot was for a project entitled Reflection, Projection and Distortion. The model was Davina Haslam. She was one of my brother’s friends I had to call on the morning of the shoot because my other model cancelled. I’m glad I used Davina though – she just looked at some example images and went for it. I used a small Samsung compact digital camera made for diving that I borrowed from a friend. I didn’t take any lighting equipment because there were lights built into the side of the pool.  Davina wore her own bikini that had pale colours on to look more like skin. The shirt was mine and I used it because it floated well and tied in with the material. The white material is a large sheet of netting that I already had and it was amazing in the water as it floated around the whole time and we didn’t have to move it much. I had used that netting on two other shoots because I love it so much.

Shooting underwater was so much fun although it was hard work. The pool was really cold, as it hadn’t been used for a few months as it was winter and this shoot was done in January 2013. I remember being really apologetic to Davina because it was that cold but it made us work quicker. I had to wear goggles to be able to see the screen on the camera. We got two images per breath.

What are you proud of?

I am proud of the fact that the camera I used wasn’t that great – it was so basic – but I still got some great shots. This underwater set is by far my favourite and very different to anything I’ve done before.

What advice would you give other photographers who are considering an underwater shoot?

Everything floats around amazingly so consider your model’s hair – long hair looks great underwater. Consider the materials you could use, and the clothes on the model. They all add to that weightless, dreamy atmosphere that you get underwater and allow you to get really creative. I loved working underwater!

Where do you find inspiration?

I love mermaids and eerie deep water so I wanted to add that aspect to my images but I also have a thing for big dresses and materials and after looking at Alix Malka’s work, I was desperate to try it out. I love his work because it is so dreamy and dramatic. His models are in odd poses, distorting the form and so it looks a little bit weird but then you have the delicate dresses and materials over the top that balance it out to bring it back to a delicate fashion image.

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