Underwater modeling is something I know little about. Except that results can either be disappointing or impressive. In fact there are two versions of modeling, the free dive version and the fashion version. The free dive version is usually performed in the open Ocean by athletic amateur models with long fins, that are very good in breath holding. They may be swimming through nicely lit caves or parallel with big ocean creatures like a tiger shark, Oceanic shark or a sperm whale. The girl models often with loose hairs and in bikini. Creating the suggestion that man ‘belongs’ in the sea and free to merge with its more fishy inhabitants. Of course its an illusion, but this holds for most nice things in the world.
An example of more artistic modeling are female models dressed in transparent skirts or even seminude in ecstatic poses. Often with weights strapped on under the dress. These models must not only be beautiful but also fit and able to hold their breath for a least a minute before they can take a nip of air from some air regulator or air hose handed to them. This type of modeling can be done in open water (e.g. with a nice coral reef on the background) or in a pool where it is much easier to control.
Then there is the inevitable ‘mermaid-tail’ variety: here the female model is squeezed into a plastic or neoprene tail to look like a mermaid. Taking care that the knees are not showing through the neoprene tail. These shoots must be very stressful for the model, because of the restriction of her natural leg movements. I can’t help finding this type of modeling rather artificial and silly. Then I much prefer the little stone mermaid of Hans Christian Anderson along the waterline in Copenhagen, showing how a mermaid should really look like. Mermaid tails have now also reached the market and are considered big fun by people who own a private pool. But they can be dangerous too; a poor Taiwanese model drowned this year trying out a mermaid tail for a photo shoot in shallow water.
Pool shots by professional fashion photographers have models that are trained in posing underwater. Modeling is often carried out in tank or underwater studio specially designed for this kind of work. Pool modeling Is considered to be easier than marine modeling. But it must be very hard for the model, because of the endless shooting sessions, changing of dress and make up. I must admit that I was much impressed by some of these pictures. Although most of the shots are commercial, and made for the fashion industry, the end product can be quite artistic and dream-like. Reminiscent of mermaid-like creatures, perhaps escaped from another mysterious world like Atlantis.