“Just slide under,” he told me, “block your nose, then open your eyes. Yeah all at once. Then come back up after you see the flash.”
I slid under. Water scrambled up my nose like an army marching into battle; violent and painful. I tried again, this time blocking my nose before submerging, but my body had memory of this thing and as soon as I took my hand away the water was back in there. Eventually I managed to sink myself in our bath, which is bigger than me (NB: buoyancy is a very real force, one that’s hard to get past in large spaces), by sticking a toe into the tap and pushing myself down. The whole thing took logic and precision:
Toe in tap. Push down.
Unblock nose. Push air out of nose simultaneously.
Arms by side but not too close.
Un-scrunch face from pained look.
Wait for water to settle. Open eyes.
Wait for flash. Come back up.
That was just my side of the bargain. There was a tall man with a camera hovering above me, monitoring my face and the water and a dozen other variables that photographers are aware of that I never even knew existed. His head works in a way that I can’t even comprehend.
The final result was this wonderful series. I’m about 2/3 of the way down. “Sam”. That’s me. I’m a siren!
The man in the first photo is my boyfriend, the photographer. He’s the other half of the creative womb that is my household. Our bathroom became a studio, as did other people’s. He put a hell of a lot of time and energy into this series, and I think he’s come up with something moving and provocative.