Hope 6, 2018
Single exposure digital photograph
Metallic paper print
120cm x 80cm (other sizes available)
Limited edition of 7
Courtesy of the artist
How long the models can hold their breath, their ability to deal with the weight of the fabric, whether they’re able to stay submerged – or even whether they can swim – are just some of the challenges that Romanian photographer Cristiana Apostol has to manage when creating her fabulous underwater images.
The Hope series focuses on the survival of the human soul in the face of adversity, the unknown or the uncontrollable. At its core is the assertion that personal defeat and desolation must be fiercely fought.
This aptly describes Apostol’s experience of underwater photography: the sessions can’t be set in stone, she’s had to learn to prepare and plan for the unexpected, and to let go of her fear of the unknown and that which she can’t control.
In this series, there’s a further challenge: Apostol is both behind the camera and the subject. Being neither athletic nor an accomplished swimmer, the physicality of the photographic sessions were some of the most difficult she’d encountered: submerged in a flimsy outfit for 6-8 hours daily, the effort was intense and the cold, at times, was extreme.
The images, however, reflect none of the tension: they’re simply captivating, flowing and serene, with colours evocative of a certain summer.
Cristiana Apostol’s photography book is due out early 2021. For more info: cristianaapostol.com
Hedge, issue 57, pp68-73, February 2020