“For whatever we lose (like a you or a me)
It’s always ourselves we find in the sea.”
– E. E. Cummings
Once I got into modeling, I used to see all different genres and styles of photography and beautifully themed editorials. I fell in absolute love with underwater photography but living in Houston at the time, could never seem to find a photographer that offered this style. When I moved to the Caribbean, I knew it was a possibility and I finally connected with a very talented artist David Berg, owner and operator of Blackwood Imaging.
Being completely ocean obsessed and practically existing in the sea every chance I got, combined with being in front of the camera was just a dream come true. This was my time to shine completely in my element, two of my biggest passions colliding together. I arrived to the shoot site and had no clue what I was getting myself into.
This whole underwater photography business is way more complicated and challenging than I expected. Most of the shoots I used to see looked so effortless and angelic, and were usually shot in a tank of water with no chemicals or salt to burn your eyes. I was shooting in open water. All the salt you can imagine getting into my eyes, up my nose, and in my mouth. I had come to the conclusion that underwater photo shoots were the least glamorous thing I had ever done. Just imagine swimming to a fairly deep depth, eyes closed (or open if you have that super power) having no clue where you’re headed, trying to look graceful. Toes pointed, back arched as far as you can go, chin pointed to the sky (which you have no clue what direction that is in), all that salt water going up your face. You can’t blow out of your nose because you don’t want bubbles obstructing the image, so you just roll with natures netty pot. (Bright side, it really clears out your sinuses!) You reach the surface, eyes completely blood shot, snot dripping out of your nose. Told you, super glamorous!
Oh but underwater photography has become one of my absolute favorite ways to express myself. I am a total mermaid at heart, the sea is my favorite place in the world, and getting to show that on film is truly a gift. It is one of the most challenging things I have ever done, not only as a model but as a person. It tests your limits with yourself. How long can I hold my breath without it looking like I’m holding my breath? Will I break under the literal pressure of the ocean, or will I create something beautiful? I love that each photo turns out completely different and no two are ever alike, it is so artistic and unique.
Don’t let all of the challenging things get in the way of trying this for yourself, the end result is completely worth it and is so rewarding. If you have every wanted to try it, (you do not need to be a model to get amazing photos of yourself) I highly recommend it. Test your boundaries. You can end up with some pretty incredible photos and a really cool story to tell. If you’re ever in St Croix, USVI contact David Berg. Set something up with him on your next vacation, you won’t be disappointed. He is an extremely talented individual and was a joy to work with. He had a lot of patience with me, as it was my first time ever doing anything like this. He made it such a great experience. To contact him click here!
PS: It’s also pretty cool when ocean life shows up to model with you, like this beautiful wild dolphin did on my last shoot with David at Buck Island. One of the best experiences I’ll hold with me for years to come, and I have a photo to cherish forever.