Little Mermaid Zena Holloway and her WonderWaters
Trying to escape from the outer world we go deep inside ourselves and our thoughts. But one way or another the surrounding noise strives to distract us from the important things we want to concentrate on. For these moments there is another world — the UnderWater. The kingdom, where comfort, calmness and steadiness rule.
In our articles we often tell about photographers who actually were not aimed to be famous photographers at the first place. Zena Holloway is not an exception either. First she felt passionate about travelling and diving. But having once seen the beauty of reefs in Egypt, the variety and savagery of the Red Sea underwater life she initially fell in love with it and could nothing but take numerous pictures to save this gorgeous silence.
The Arabic root has not appeared in Zena’s art occasionally for she was born in Bahrain and thanks to her father-pilot she was travelling the world, exploring it far and wide all the time. The parents’ good influence on Zena’s art was also made by her mom, who gave her her first underwater camera for 18th birthday. And starting from that time it was all set: Zena has turned from a simple diver to a diver-photographer. Not wasting her time or money on expensive tutors, Holloway prefers practice, working as an assistant in shooting crews of Discovery and BBC channels. By trial and fails she learns the art of underwater shooting, immersing herself figuratively and literally into this kind of photography.
Zena Holloway, underwater photography, underwater video, diver-photographer, models underwater, shooting underwater
© zenaholloway.com
Zena Holloway, underwater photography, underwater video, diver-photographer, models underwater, shooting underwater
© zenaholloway.com
Zena Holloway, underwater photography, underwater video, diver-photographer, models underwater, shooting underwater
© zenaholloway.com
Step by step Zena progresses from a self-taught photographer to a world-famous underwater photographer and operator. Universal brands and lots of celebrities start to work with her. Promo video for Elle Style Awards, decorating Kyle Minogue’s world tour, numerous advertising campaigns for Nike, Speedo, Umbro, Pepsi, GQ, Harper’s Bazar, National Geagraphic, Herbal Essences, Camey etc.
Zena Holloway, underwater photography, underwater video, diver-photographer, models underwater, shooting underwater
© zenaholloway.com
Zena Holloway, underwater photography, underwater video, diver-photographer, models underwater, shooting underwater
© zenaholloway.com
Zena Holloway, underwater photography, underwater video, diver-photographer, models underwater, shooting underwater
© zenaholloway.com
For every photo Zena chooses the models and the light thoroughly. The right water, the right light, the right angle, the right foreshortening, the right actions of people and things — everything must be perfectly planned in advance, otherwise the shooting process might last for hours and days and even weeks. And Zena likes to make it perfect in a couple of shots, not exhausting her crew and herself. By the way, the SFG team has once also tried to tame the underwater shooting, creating the photo project Immersion. And knowing it from our own experience we want to assure you that it is unbelievably hard and requires the biggest concentration from the models, photographers and everyone involved. Even such an easy thing as the change of film in the camera might turn into a time-consuming process, since the photographer will have to leave the water, make everything including himself perfectly dry and only after dwell to a roll change.
And of course it is the appliance that matters. The good appliance forms if not the biggest but the very important part of the successful shooting. Without any embarrassment Zena says that now she is sponsored by Canon and there is no need for her to spend thousands of dollars on sky-high devices. For the time being she prefers Canon 1DC body with the variety of lenses. As far as the additional equipment for underwater photography is concerned, it is always Austrian Seacam — one of the world’s leading producers of different appliance for this kind of art.
Watching the backstages of Zena’s work one might feel to be on some Neptune’s cosmic station: so much of technical mystery floats everywhere around. I guess we can watch Holloway’s shooting process for hours. Just have a look and try to argue.
Zena herself says, that shooting on the surface for her is a phenomenon very strange and hard to understand. Even a pool or a giant aquarium are the forced inconveniences and with the biggest pleasure she works diving into the natural waters: seas and oceans. The only case when a pool might be more than enough is when she takes pictures during the babies’ swimming classes. You can not argue the fact that either quality or emotions are not worse in these pictures.
Zena Holloway, underwater photography, underwater video, diver-photographer, models underwater, shooting underwater
© zenaholloway.com
Zena Holloway, underwater photography, underwater video, diver-photographer, models underwater, shooting underwater
© zenaholloway.com
Zena Holloway, underwater photography, underwater video, diver-photographer, models underwater, shooting underwater
© zenaholloway.com
It might seem that the modern photography is so progressive nowadays that it is nearly impossible to surprise anyone with something new in this area. But from time to time there happen to appear such masters who take a challenge and try to prove us wrong. And Zena Holloway is one for the thousands who fascinates us as easily and gracefully, as the ribbon, floating under the water.
To completely immerse into Zena’s water reality visit her official website.
By Zhenya Shokun
2016