Elena Kalis takes underwater fashion and art stills in the coasts off The Bahamas – she spoke to Wonderland about the challenging life pursuit.
How and when did you start shooting underwater?
I live on the small island in The Bahamas, surrounded by clear warm water. Taking up underwater photography was a natural thing for me to do.
Your photos have a dream-like quality. What inspires the work?
The ocean is my daily inspiration, changing every minute of the day. Being underwater is a very special experience, reality – but like a dream.
How would you describe life in the Bahamas?
It has is pluses and minuses, like everywhere in the world. Living on the island has its challenges: my internet is often not working; my telephone and fridge was damaged in a thunder storm and so on and so on… But I do love living by the ocean and listen to wave sounds every day.
I love the “Alice in Waterland” project. Is it difficult to shoot in a non-gravity environment, or is that part of the fun?
It was difficult and unpredictable. And yes, this is also why it is very exciting. Just organising and sinking props underwater can take a long time…
Where’s you favourite location to work from?
I love shooting in the ocean, even though it is much more difficult then in the pool. Images in the ocean have a special feeling to them that many people can relate to.
What’s difficult about shooting underwater?
It’s a specialised photography and you have to have the right tools to work with: camera, housing, lights, scuba. And if you are photographing people underwater you need to find models that are comfortable with that.
What do you like best about what you do?
Being in the water… I would be there without a camera as well.
If you could photograph anyone, who would it be and what would they be doing?
I have a few ideas I want to try and it involves skilled underwater models, so if I have a chance to work with, let’s say, synchronised swimmers or dancers who are comfortable underwater I would love to see it happened.
What’s next for you?
I am very excited about a book that I am making with a well-known German art photography publisher…
Words: Sufiyeh Heddon