julia-lehman-underwater-portrait-photography-1.jpg

The Underwater World

As a photographer and artist for over 20 years, I am always looking for new and creative ways to express myself. I am thrilled to share with you my newest work, The Underwater World Portrait Series. My work has always incorporated all the elements of nature, including water. However, it wasn’t until my family and I renovated an old pool that the inspiration to completely submerge myself, my camera, and my models became a possibility and a new passion.

Shooting underwater transports us to another realm, opening a whole new world of possibilities while posing unique challenges and limitations as well. The loss of gravity and the gaining of weightlessness. The loss of sound and the ability to communicate verbally, relying instead on intuition.  Visually, the extraordinary way the sunlight reflects and creates rainbows in the water, the way reflections on the surface of the water became transcendental paintings, air bubbles from the models breath take shape and form nebulous objects for just a moment, and the fabric, hair and other props move effortlessly and with grace becomes truly an otherworldly experience for all who submerge.

While the end result is the unique and beautiful underwater portrait, it is the process of creating the images that has proven to be transformative for myself as an artist and at times, the subjects of the portraits as well.

Water has a highly meditative quality. As so much of the world and its inhabitants are made up of water it is a direct connection to the Oneness that is in All. Water is a form of purification which allows all energetic toxins, traumas, and the intensities of the modern day world to subside.

My models are mostly women and children. While preparing for each “visit” to the Underwater World, I connect with each model and choose with them the ornaments and fabrics and makeup based on how they wanted to be represented and expressed.  A Shaman’s necklace from Peru, flowery fabrics, and vintage dresses, most of the props were chosen with intention based on things that I find sacred. Many of the props are found in nature, such as bones, leaves, sticks. Women and children contain all of the mystery and sensuality that suggests hope, creation, and the vastness of human potential. Ultimately, a few of the models expressed that this journey to an underwater realm shifted something in them and helped them process trauma. Creating art together always has a magical and transformative potential and it is thrilling as an artist to be able to provide a medium or channel for this to happen. 

The final images are now serving these special women as a reminder of the magic that exists at all times.  The photos are “mirrors” that reflect their outer and inner Beauty and Power.

I merge this new water landscape with a continuing dialogue I have in my work between my dreams, my passion for nature, mythology, magic, and the Mystery….