Ideas & Obsessions

Experimental portrait. Photographer in the pool. It was too cold for the model.

Experimental portrait. Photographer in the pool. It was too cold for the model.

An orange maple leaf floating in a pool of green water lit from below

An orange maple leaf floating in a hot tub at night.

A young woman in a pink bathing suit floating in a clear pool. She's about 9.

Brandi floating in pool Duncans, Jamaica

Blue, almost purple lights reflecting in green water

A photo of Christmas lights reflecting in the water.

I’ve been obsessed for years about the idea of taking portraits of women in the water. I wanted to call them “Ophelia Portraits” after Hamlet’s lover who drowned from her madness. Pictured in many paintings and other images she usually has flowers strewn in the water and long, hair – a vacuous look on her face. I had also seen a portrait I liked of a male celebrity and he was standing fully dressed in a soaked shirt and tie. I liked the look.

Now that I’m a fan of Pintrest, I find hundreds of beautiful, haunting photos of water. Sometimes people are there and often they are not. Submerged or just wet, eyes closed looking like they are dreaming – dressed or naked I gravitate to the images.

The portrait of me in the pool was my first attempt. My model was too cold to get wet; it was December in Southern California but still very chilly though the pool was heated. I asked her to work with me because she was tall, blonde, had a lovely face and I also thought she would make a good photographer. My friend said this image reminds her of a crime scene and I agree mostly because of the look on my face. When I showed it to people on my iPhone they always turned it vertically and then it looked even more strange. This was the only image I thought worked at any level and mostly because I liked the curve of the arm. I worked hard to get the arm curve and it wasn’t easy thrashing around in the water trying to float and move with elegance at the same time.

I always feel vulnerable about sharing images especially when I compare myself to the other photographers and the images on Pintrest. This I find is a character defect. Usually though I listen to the image and it tells me to share. Brandi is a favorite model besides Fureus in Jamaica and this was taken when she was only nine. I also have another photo of her ‘doe eyed’ face on the home page of my publishing and consulting site. The leaf and water images were also taken in California during the winter.

I like the colors and patterns in the water. It’s like fog and smoke those things we can’t control or predict.