For his first London exhibition, internationally acclaimed photographer Hugh Arnold presents Agua Nacida (water born), a truly unique collection of hauntingly beautiful large-scale nudes, shot underwater on location in Fiji and Gozo.
It is an evocative exploration of nature, beauty and sexuality, achieved through overcoming the considerable technical difficulties of photographing underwater to capture models Polina Barbasova and Nika Lauraitis as they are freed from the restrictions of gravity and float weightlessly with an ethereal, otherworldly beauty.
Having been enticed into the world of photography by the light and natural outdoor elements of Australia, Arnold has a close connection to the sea which he describes with: “Gravity restricts us above water, but under water it’s almost like a fairytale world. The colours, the light, even our breath – which we can’t physically see above water – add wonderful dimensions.”
Agua Nacida makes use of the liberating quality of water to frame a narrative about human existence as each print marks the symbolic transition from the cocoon of the womb, to carefree childhood, to the discovery of adolescence, the sensuality of womanhood and the pain of birth, depicting each stage in the process through the acutely observed actions of his models.
Arnold similarises the work to “going back to the beginning, being reborn” as “The moment you submerge yourself in water, no matter who you are, the ego disappears and you touch the true essence of your nature.” In this, these mesmerising photographs offer an intellectual beauty but also a vulnerability as set against the vast expanse of nature. These images capture the light of our inner being and afford us a moment of silence that is deafeningly loud when observed.”
Hugh Arnold: Agua Nacida, 16 January – 14 February, Mead Carney Fine Art, 45 Dover Street, W1S 4FF. For more information visit www.meadcarney.com
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1. Hugh Arnold, Autour du Mondeo, 2013, Archival c-type metallic print, 40x60in. © Hugh Arnold, courtesy Mead Carney Fine Art.