On Seeing: A Journal – #247

The advertising company Young & Laramore commissioned us to make a series of images for Brizo, a subsidiary of Delta, manufacturers of high end kitchen and bathroom faucets.

The idea was for me to make underwater photographs of dancers and models wearing Jason Wu couture specifically designed for the gravity-free aquatic “set.”

With a casting, always a unique test for models and dancers, we found three women who were at one with the water and could perform submerged with precise direction.

Everything is slowed down underwater, so making still photographs of dance in the pool is actually easier than in the studio or on stage, where constant movement makes panning the camera and timing the shutter very challenging. Out of water, this can require the repetition of natural, rhythmic movements for the sake of “getting it just right.” Though underwater, in slow motion, with a flowing dress no pose can be exactly replicated.

To make the images we did for Brizo required pristine lighting, talented and graceful models in a perfect and comfortable aquatic environment: warm, chemical-free and crystal clear.

Here is some of the video footage we did that day:

The “trick” to controlling the dancers’ movement across the camera’s frame was to place a thin belt around the model’s waist, under her dress, and attach it to a long black cord inserted through a small slit in the dress. I directed an assistant who was also underwater and outside the camera’s frame to pull the model across the pool in order to move the dresses and create a mood nothing short of sublime and magical. One can “feel” my directions to my assistant to move the model gradually, then more quickly, or slowly or even to pause.

And finally, some of the advertising pages that resulted:

Dancers: Diane Boyle, Tara Stiles and Alison Clancy

for Young & Laramore: Uriaha Austin Foust, Art Director

Gowns by Jason Wu