Four years ago, March 2016 I was headed to Oahu to have my severed ACL looked at, for a second surgery. Yeah, it was a painful experience, and yet it’s the very reason that I embarked on a whole new journey. One that I am excited to tell you about. Although, I suspect you probably already know what it is!
Let the story begin
While boarding my flight on Hawaiian Airlines I found myself standing behind a woman carrying a mermaid tail on her back.
My curiosity got the best of me and I decided right there-and-then that I had to know this person. So I did what any level-headed person would do and decided to strike up a conversation, by asking her “Are you a Mermaid?”
Yeah...I decided to skip the general hello, cool shoes...and went for a more direct route. And as luck would have it, she turned around and said, “yes I am!”
As you’ve probably already guessed the universe was definitely on my side because we were on the same flight, sitting next to one another! We talked about everything!
It struck me that I should tell this mermaid tail carrying woman (Lila) that I wanted to learn how to photograph mermaids underwater. That I just started dabbling with underwater photography and was hoping to find a mermaid (I knew I had just found her).
It wasn’t long before we met up on Maui and started hanging out underwater. And by “hanging out,” I mean, learning to shoot a moving person underwater effectively. Which proved to be a challenge! Although, Lila excelled at posing underwater (free diving, breath holding), she never made me feel that I wasn’t good enough.
With Lila’s help, I learned to free dive better, hold my breath longer, and find her (moving person) underwater and how stay down there long enough to photograph her with the sea-life.
It was addicting! And I guess that you could say that asking Lila if she was a mermaid is how my underwater photography adventures started.
Back to the story...Soon after mastering the complexities of underwater photography, I started analyzing the images and realized that the raw image could be transformed into something else- something that might be found in imaginations, storybooks...
Letting my imagination take flight was (is) exhilarating! I started transforming raw images into pieces of art and wouldn’t you know it, my mermaid friend, Lila loved them!
After some time, Lila introduced me to Ely of the2tails who would become my sponsor of mermaid tails (Yeah! Amazing!) Ely offered to send me tails and I would send her images of anyone I could get to put them on (no small task).
After several years, Lila launched, Mermaid Dream Retreats and asked me to be the event photographer! The retreat was set in Mexico (of course I said yes!)
As soon as the retreat wrapped up in October 2018, I knew that underwater photography and transforming raw images into works of art was exactly what I needed to be doing!
Remember what I said at the beginning about how an injury can lead to interesting places? Well, it sure has! Meeting Lila, feels like fate as I look back. With her help I was able to take an idea and grow it (quite literally) into works of art.