Underwater Nudes

by Marianina Patsa

If he could evolve his DNA and get gills, British photographer Hugh Arnold would probably have done so without a second thought. His obsession with water is immortalized through thousands of underwater clicks of his camera.

“The commercial world is bound by a cart of restrictions and obligations. Getting rid of these obligations means discovering your true freedom as an artist. “Working with what you have at your core is the greatest gift.” Hugh Arnold started as an actor and went on to live as a photographer, capturing the wild beauty of Australia. A contract with the Australian Vogue brought him into the world of fashion. He then moved to Europe and worked with major fashion and beauty companies such as Armani and L’Oreal. But that was not his call. His call was the sea.

His journey is like the adventure of a modern Odysseus. To give flesh and blood to his vision, which was nothing more than the famous “Underwater Nudes”, he learned to do Scuba Dive in Egypt and flew to Australia to continue his mission. The icy currents, the sharks, the jellyfish and the other wild creatures of the seabed, pushed him to the islands of Fiji. He constantly photographed bodies dancing underwater until the storms stopped him. He continued his diving on a small island in Malta. At each location, he collaborated with Olympic athletes. And he immortalized underwater for a whole year until he completed his work.

Exploring the various stages of human development, from the womb to adulthood, Arnold mermaids represent birth, life, and the subconscious respectively. By capturing the submerged human body, Arnold seeks to visualize the most essential human quality: a subtle vitality that is stirred in all of us but found only by those who know how to “see”.

Photo Credit: Hugh Arnold / Rarity Gallery

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