Published May 20, 2023 : PhotoHastings member in profile

Relax… breathe in… breathe out… and… dive. Ever since I learned to swim, I’ve been fascinated by the underwater world beneath the surface. It’s like diving into a dream, or a fantasy world where I can fly, float or become a mermaid.

I have spent years researching and investigating capitalism and its effects on humanity, the planet, and the way we live our lives. The more I have learned, the more I have endeavoured to unplug from the capitalist matrix we all live in. Part of this process has involved tuning into spirituality as a way of transcending the material world to experience the higher power that exists within all of us. As we re-learn how to breathe, we clear our minds, we meditate, and we become conscious of the unconscious.

Under the water, the noise is shut off, we control our breath, and we submerge into silence. We focus on the way our body moves and feels. We allow ourselves to be comfortable in our own skin, we trust that we are safe and allow our minds to create whatever universe it desires in front of our unseeing eyes.

I am inspired by pre-Raphaelite paintings, memories from childhood and literature, along with the infinite possibilities of creative physical expression, for people who may not be able to do so otherwise out of the water. In the water we can discover more about ourselves, for me – it is the great equaliser. People who feel awkward on land dance like a ballerina under the water. The work is essentially dream-like and in some ways sublime, implying infinite space surrounding the subject. It explores childhood memories, dreams, and most of all, possibilities for the future, when we allow ourselves to breathe and just be.

I’ve chosen images from F L O A T , a series I am currently working on with no end or completion in sight. I am going travelling this summer and intend to take the work into the ocean next, which I’m very excited about. As a series F L O A T  will make up some of the work I intend to exhibit with PhotoHastings at St Andrews Mews this coming September.

It’s an exciting project as it combines my love and passion for the water and our environment, with the technical challenges of photography under the water. I am using a Canon MKIII 5D inside a Subal housing and everything is self-taught with the guidance of a few industry experts – of which there really are hardly any due to the niche market.

I am pleased to be able to offer underwater sessions to anyone who wants them. I am fully insured, hold an NPLQ and Swim England Level 2 and I want to say to anyone whatever their age or swim ability, that this is something that can make you feel good about yourself, it is a unique and quite collaborative experience.

For all enquires please see Sophie’s website.

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Answers by Sophie De Roe​ @spiritandwildphotography to questions posed by Alison Bettles @alisonbettles.
Sophie De Roe’s website  |  All images © Sophie De Roe

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