Mead Carney is pleased to present Agua Nacida, the first London exhibition by internationally acclaimed photographer Hugh Arnold. This truly unique collection of hauntingly beautiful large-scale images, shot underwater on location in Fiji and Gozo, offers an evocative exploration of nature, beauty and sexuality interpreted through an ambitious and highly accomplished series of underwater nudes.
Overcoming the considerable technical difficulties of photographing underwater, Arnold’s models Polina Barbasova and Nika Lauraitis are freed from the restrictions of gravity and, floating weightlessly, they imbue this latest work with an ethereal, otherworldly beauty.
‘Gravity restricts us above water, but under water it’s almost like a fairytale world. The colours, the light, even our breath – which we can’t physically see above water – add wonderful dimensions.’ – Hugh Arnold
Drawing on the photographer’s own close connection to the sea, Agua Nacida makes use of the essential, liberating quality of water to frame a narrative about human existence. Each visually arresting image marks the symbolic transition from the cocoon of the womb, to carefree childhood, to the discovery of adolescence, the sensuality of womanhood and the pain of birth, depicting each stage in the process through the acutely observed physical actions of his models.
‘The moment you submerge yourself in water, no matter who you are, the ego disappears and you touch the true essence of your nature. It’s like going back to the beginning, being reborn.’ – Hugh Arnold
Hugh Arnold was born in Chester, England and trained as an actor before being enticed into the world of photography by the light and natural outdoor elements of Australia. After being offered a contract by Australian Vogue, he returned to Europe, doing his first job exclusively with Armani for Per Lui and Lei with Franca Sozzani in Milan. He met Hamish Bowles at the collections in Paris who asked him to shoot Carla Bruni for Harpers and Queen and he subsequently worked for magazines including Vogue, Tatler, Glamour and Conde Nast Traveller. Soon after, he started shooting worldwide beauty campaigns for L’Oreal, Pantene, Wella, Max Factor, Nivea and La Perla. Hugh’s exploration of photography as an art form has allowed him to develop creatively without commercial constraint, photographing ‘Underwater Nudes’. His editorial and advertising images, as well as celebrity portraits, have appeared in the fashion industry’s leading publications spanning numerous continents. Hugh currently lives in France with his wife and their four children.
The full collection of Arnold’s work has been published as a hardback book, AGUA NACIDA by Merrell, September 2014.