September 4th, 2008


Rae Winters: Interview

After posting the underwater shoot where Rae Winters took so many fantastic pictures, I got a lot of questions about how it was done. I thought it might be best to go to the source, Rae herself! I asked her about some of the questions I've been getting, along with some questions of my own. Enjoy!

Water 4
Photo Copyright Rae Winters, 2008

Question: How do you take underwater photos? Do you go underwater yourself?

Rae: I have taken underwater photos several ways. The first time I used a throwaway film camera, and that gave me some very older looking, Esther Williams film style looks. They were more grainy, but I really loved the early images and the era they evoked. Now I use the Olympus Stylus 770SW (I'm moving up in the world), which is a camera that is designed to go underwater up to 33 ft. As for going underwater myself, that varies. I used to go under all the time and wear goggles so I could use the viewfinder, but recently I have found that sometimes I get a better perspective by being in the water but not completely submerged. It often depends on the shot, but these recent shots have all been done using the latter method.

Question: What kind of camera do you use?
Rae: Right now I use an Olympus Stylus 770SW.

Question: How do you instruct your models to pose underwater?
Rae: I have found that each model approaches underwater posing differently, but there are some basic tips. One technique is to breathe out all of your air before going under, then you are less inclined to puff out your cheeks. Another tip is to get underwater however you can (holding your nose to avoid water up the nose, etc), and then once you're under hit your pose and hold it until you float to the surface. It can be a bit dicey that way, but it did work in this last shoot. Slow movements are better than sharper, quicker movements, which churns up the water and makes it harder to get a clear shot (unless that's what you're going for). The big thing is to keep your face relaxed, and to keep your pose for as long as possible.

Question: What do you look for in an underwater photograph - is there any
particular themes or compositions that you like?

Rae: I love the way that being underwater makes everything surreal - nothing moves in the normal way, the ideas of up and down are just suggestions, etc. I love playing with that aspect of things, and plan to delve into it more as soon as I can. I also love body shapes and lines, and I find that underwater, all the lines and shapes are more mutable and that enables me to play more with them. I also find that with something that has as many variables as working underwater, the ability to improvise is key.

Question: What are you future plans for an underwater shoot?

Rae: In hopefully the very near future I plan to shoot gadgeteer and podcasting genius Jared Axelrod as Aquaman, which I am very excited about. After that, I have a few plans for something even more surreal - setting more real life situations underwater, etc. Underwater shooting, unless you have an indoor pool, is a spring and summer activity, so pretty soon I will have to move on to other projects for a while and return to it again next spring.

So there you have it! All the answers to your underwater shooting and modeling questions. Thank you Rae for taking the time to answer all of my questions, and for such a wonderful shoot!

Water 6
Photo Copyright Rae Winters, 2008