Finally, at long last, I can tell you all about the underwater photo shoot I coordinated for Parlour Magazine! I know I have been cryptic (or not so cryptic) in my obsession with underwater photography over the past 10 months, and it's because this Off The Deep End project has completely consumed me.
We collaborated with Kirby Feng and the Save Scona Pool Action Team in a fight to keep a local community pool from closure, and I was able to sketch storyboards, direct and coordinate the shoot with the help of an amazing team and incredible contributing designers like Sid Neigum, Jessica Halabi, John James Jewelry (who designed heavy, starfish body armour for our shoot), Melncoly Designs and Suka Design, who created the mermaid fin you see here (I almost cried when I saw Diane, our little fish, swim around in the water. It was better than Ariel).
We also had Salon Montage, makeup artist Adrianne Thomson, and tattoo artist David Maier collaborate. Believe me--shoot day was crazy chaotic and stressful, but so much fun and completely worth it in the end.
The photos were shot by internationally acclaimed photographer Tri-Kiet Vuong, who learned to scuba dive specifically for the shoot, and we captured models Mike Vanden Ham, Brendan Bachewich, and Charis Fossen, who are all elite competitive swimmers, as well as Diane Connors and identical twin sisters Samara and Meaghan Hipkin, who (have) all compete(d) at a national level of synchronized swimming in Canada.
The results are nothing short of mesmerizing (and hopefully this campaign will sway City Hall's decision in December). My favourite part was watching these amazing athletes in the water--it was so innate and natural for them, as though they were born to be in an underwater environment. Through photography and art, I really feel like we found a way to see the beauty they find in their sport, to materialize it in a way so that the masses can understand it, too.
I will be sending you over to view the 10-page spread when the magazine is released in a week, and we've got video to go along with it. I'm so excited, and feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to blend athletics, fashion and art in such an amazing community project. If you're in Edmonton, I hope to see you at the art exhibit and fashion show on Nov. 6th!
On Nov. 27th, the Save Scona Pool Action Team will be hosting a fundraiser banquet, where large canvases of the artwork will be auctioned. Tickets can be purchased for $50 by contacting Kirby Feng at email@example.com.
*Shot by Tri Kiet Vuong