“I’m a beach guy,” says Eugene Tan, the surf photographer behind the online community turned extraordinarily popular Bondi gallery, Aquabumps. “I shoot with natural light and waves. This project was a good challenge for me,” he says of his latest body of work, Underwater Dance, a portfolio of striking underwater images created in collaboration with the fashion designer Dion Lee and dancers from the Australian Ballet. “This was a very technical shoot with complex lighting, and instead of surfers I had dancers. I was pushed creatively on this – and the outcome is pretty special.”
Photographed over a period of four hours in a blacked out Sydney Olympic Pool, Tan photographed company dancers wearing bespoke swimwear designed by Lee and choreographed into abstract poses by the Australian Ballet’s Artistic Director, David McAllister. Lee’s designs were informed by the idea of dynamic movement through water “using sculptural and dimensional perforation, with mindfulness of the body”, he said from New York. “I explored the idea of balance, contrast and fluidity, particularly as it appears in the aquatic, to create a graphic image.”
“Dancers work for years to counter the effects of gravity,” added McAllister. “In this shoot it was amazing to see them literally float in such beautiful photographs, wrapped in glorious outfits, lit and photographed with such care. This experience highlights the beauty you can create when these wonderful creative forces combine!”
Limited edition prints of the works created as part of Underwater Dance are available to purchase online at Aquabumps, with prices starting from $1800 for unframed images. More information is available here.
Tile and cover image: Eugene Tan