Image of the Week #351

Some photographers have found themselves creatively crippled in this most trying of times. It’s not surprising, there is so much to take on board and getting through the days is sometimes enough. Some of us feel like this all the time or just some of the time. It’s 100% fine, trust me – when you do pick up your cameras again it will be like getting back on a bike.

Some photographers are finding creative space within this great pause. With the break in weddings, there can be time for experimentation and fun with your camera. Where she would normally be busy shooting elopements down in her beloved Cornwall, Jo at Enchanted Brides has been developing a love of wild swimming. With her partner, Patrick they’ve been playing a lot with their drone, shooting themselves on the Cornish coast. But recently, on a whim, Jo took a camera out and collaborated with a friend to produce a series of images including this one.

They remind me of a still from an Esther Williams movie – not just from the subject matter (Williams was an American competitive swimmer who became a Hollywood actress) but also from the colourising. It is reminiscent of Process 4 Technicolour, which was dominant in movies from 1932-52. It has that hyperreal feeling.

I think it’s very clever that we see mermaid, simply from the model’s pose, the location and those wonderful blue eyebrows. It’s very minimal yet powerfully suggested. What I love about this particular shot is how she is caressing the rock, it makes her seem vulnerable and as if she needs anchoring. Let’s read Jo’s take on this shot below.

Sony A73 | Samyang 18mm 2.8| f2.8 | 1/2000| ISO 100



“I would like to tell you that this had lots of planning but it was a very spontaneous ‘shall we meet up for a swim tomorrow’ and ‘do you mind if I take a couple of pictures’ type plan. I didn’t even really plan to use my camera as I was going to test out a new filter I bought for my drone, but I happened to have a cheap 18mm lens in my bag from the day before with some cool filters on it that Patrick had bought me for doing timelapse and Milky Way shots. The water is still only about 7-8 degrees I think so we only took a few shots.

I don’t usually shoot so much with the light, but I love the way the sun lit up the sea pool and highlighted the seaweed and Laura. Laura had to try cling on to this slippery ledge whilst I dangled above her with no pants on so I am glad I had the 18mm to fit her entirely in my frame as we did not have much space and my leg and foot and hair blowing kept getting in the shot. After the hypothermia set in I jumped in for a swim and didn’t even know what I had shot but when I got home I was pleasantly surprised. I used a few post processing techniques Patrick had taught me in landscape editing, such as using a new layer with soft light for dodging and burning certain elements to make it pop, I did this with the seaweed in the foreground to make it more yellow and a few other bits using the luminosity mask which I have never used in my wedding or portrait work or even a wide angle at that matter. The polarising filter is amazing for water shots to reduce the reflection I was getting. All in all – a fun, unplanned experimental swim with some pictures as a bonus!”