Well Being

The Beauty of being under Water

11. September 2017

An Interview with Lucas Murnaghan …

Can you tell us your relationship to the water?

I grew up a water baby for sure. My parents had us in in the water from an early age and my love for water grew out of that. My mother is from the Caribbean – so I guess there is a genetic component on top of that. Swimming, sailing, kayaking, canoeing – we’d get wet whenever we could.  I worked as a lifeguard and worked in the boating area of my summer camp as my summer job during high school.  My brothers and I used to play games in the backyard pool trying to hold our breath for the longest, or creating our own imaginary underwater worlds.  I’ve always felt a sense of calm from being in the water.  Maybe it’s the silence, or the disconnection from reality – but I guess that has persisted through into my photography and hopefully translates in the images I create.

How did you discover the fascination of photographing in water?

It all started because I wasn’t particularly good at surfing. One day when my partner and I were surfing in Barbados, I paddled in and swam back out with a waterproof camera. I snapped a few photos of him and my love for in water photography was born. I’ve been lucky enough to explore surf photography in many incredible locations around the world as well as right here in my backyard in Canada. The underwater work was born out of a desire to shoot more often. The winters can get pretty cold and long here in Toronto and I turned to some of our local pools to explore the underwater world. It’s been an incredible adventure ever since.


Actually, underwater photography often captures the beauty of the underwater nature. How does it affect you?

One of the amazing things about being underwater is that you can completely disconnect from the world. The rules of physics change completely and I am immediately at peace. Sharing that feeling with my subjects and subsequently my audience is a huge thrill for me – inviting them into a world that they may or not have fully appreciated before.


What was, or is the biggest challenge?

Shooting underwater presents all sorts of challenges. Many of them are technical from a photographic standpoint – but once those challenges are overcome – the reward makes it all worthwhile. Some of my subjects come with varying levels of comfort with the water, and overcoming those apprehensions is the first step in a successful shoot. Finding new and interesting locations and creative concepts is always a fun challenge – but with the amazing people I have been able to collaborate with, I often feel like I have the easy job!


It looks like your models have to act to their limits – right? How do you find them?

Most of my models do not have any professional modelling experience. It’s great because they don’t have any preconceived notion of how to pose or what they ‘should’ look like. I strive for my emotional or casual poses, as I feel the environment itself provides sufficient drama and shouldn’t be overpowered. I have been lucky to find models through my own social circles, professional agencies and of course – social media!


Any dream location where you like to shoot?

Oh this is a long list, but one I love to think about! I lie awake at night thinking about some of the incredible spots around the world that I would love to visit and explore. The beauty is that the possibilities are limitless and the process has just begun!


What kind of camera you use? How much post production is involved?

I use a Canon 5Div in a Aquatech Elite water housing. I get asked about equipment a lot and I can say that having the right gear does make a difference. That being said – getting out there with any waterproof camera option can allow someone to see the world from a different perspective and help them decide if they would like to invest further. In terms of post production – I imagine my work flow is similar to many photographers. I strive to limit my post production work to simple editing and avoid photo manipulation. The biggest compliment someone can pay my work is then they say ‘That must be photoshopped – that’s impossible’ – so I strive to keep my shots authentic while maintaining a surreal aesthetic.


Any secret you can give the readers of ROBERT’S shooting a nice image with an ordinary underwater camera?

I think the best advice is to just jump in and try it out. Don’t be afraid to get creative and explore how the human body and light behave differently underwater. Instagram is an amazing platform to share your work and explore what different artists are up to. Seek inspiration from whatever form of art moves you emotionally and most of all, have fun!


Where can I get/buy an image of you?

The best place to follow along my work on a daily basis is through my Instagram page (@lucasmurnaghan). For finished products and prints for sale – my website is www.lucasmurnaghan.com

All images courtesy of Lucas Murnaghan

Lucas Murnaghan is a Toronto-based photographer focusing on images that involve water and its surroundings


© 2019 Robert’s