摄影师Zena Holloway ，1973年出生于巴林，在伦敦长大，1995年她正式开始水下摄影生涯，之前她是一名水中呼吸器教师，并跟踪拍摄水下教案。Zena完全自学影像技术与摄影技巧，凭借天才的领悟力在水下摄影领域开辟了属于自己的一片天地，作品多见于How to Spend it、The Observer Magazine、125、Tatler、Dazed & Confused等国际顶级刊物，她驾驭影像的娴熟技术不仅获得多项摄影大奖，同时也备受Nike、Umbro、Polydor、Sony、Epson、Herbal Essences、National Geographic、Jacuzzi等国际品牌的亲睐，并开展了良好的商业合作。
2006年，Zena开始尝试导演拍摄英国小说家Charles Kingsley于1863年创作的儿童小说The Water Babies（水宝宝），同名图书于2008年10年面世，整书完全在水下拍摄完成，画面唯美，宛如仙境一般。谈及此次的拍摄过程，Zena表示这是一次非凡的经历，特别是与小朋友和小动物在水中相处，真是一件不简单的事情。这次拍摄《水宝宝》是个非常好的开始，接下来，Zena将着手拍摄经典童话The Little Mermaid（小美人鱼）。
Shall Zou: What inspired you about Charles Kingsley’s Water Babies story? Do you remember it from your childhood?
Zena Holloway: Since working on this book it’s been incredible to discover how so many people remember beautifully illustrated old editions of Charles Kingsley’s Water Babies from their childhood. Unfortunately, my first memory is only the rather dated film adaptation that was made in the 1970s, but I’m making up for lost time and now have a rather nerdy but gorgeous collection of different editions going back to the early 1900s.
Shall Zou: What were you like as a child?
Zena Holloway: A bit of a rebel and always in trouble.
Shall Zou: When did you decide that you wanted to be a photographer?
Zena Holloway: After school, I worked abroad as a scuba instructor for a few years and this was when I decided that I’d like to work behind a camera underwater. I was blown away by the coral reefs of Egypt, and the rock formations of the Cayman Islands, and I’ve always enjoyed wildlife both above and below the water line. I investigated working for natural history film departments, commercial diving for films and assisting underwater-film camera men. The latter was the most successful avenue and after working freelance for three years I sidestepped into underwater photography and built a portfolio of work.
Shall Zou: How were you first introduced to underwater photography?
Zena Holloway: My mum gave me my first underwater camera for my eighteenth birthday when I was in Egypt. It was a little plastic Motormarine, and at the time I thought it was utterly stupendous.
Shall Zou: What inspires and excites you about underwater photography?
Zena Holloway: Capturing an amazing image is always exciting and I love the spontaneity that being underwater brings to a shoot. I am always striving to push boundaries and working underwater allows me to do that. I strive to be original and I feel that I can achieve that with underwater imagery.
Shall Zou: How did you go about conceptualizing The Water Babies? Was it difficult to source the props and costumes?
Zena Holloway: The book was made over a period of two years and although I knew I would be using illustration to construct the more difficult images, I didn’t really know at the beginning exactly how it would work. The great thing about the project was that PQ Blackwell allowed me to interpret the book as I chose and I could therefore pick and mix images that inspired me.
Shall Zou: Some of the children in the book appear very young and must be extremely confident in the water. How do you source your models and what kind of audition process is involved?
Zena Holloway: I have been working with babies and young children underwater right from the very beginning of my career as a photographer. In the past I have been commissioned to shoot for swim schools and parents both in the United States and United Kingdom. With this background it was relatively easy to find the right children to play the characters, although I consider myself extremely lucky to have found such a sweet and adorable kid to play the lead role.
Shall Zou: What were the most challenging shots in the book?
Zena Holloway: I believe the famous old chestnut of show business: “Never work with children or animals” is sound advice. I think I could add that if you put them both together and shoot them underwater that’s asking for trouble. However the images of Tom swimming with otters, dogs and whales are certainly some of the most rewarding and I would do it all over again.
Shall Zou: Where do you go to shoot your underwater images?
Zena Holloway: Anywhere warm and clear.
Shall Zou: What kind of equipment do you use?
Zena Holloway: The underwater housings are supplied by Seacam, and the cameras are Canon.
Shall Zou: Do you have any tips for readers who may want to take their own underwater photographs?
Zena Holloway: The more time you spend underwater with a camera the luckier you get.
Shall Zou: Where to from here? Would you like to do anymore children’s books?
Zena Holloway: It was a demanding but fabulous photographic journey and I would certainly relish another opportunity like this one.Who knows, perhaps The Little Mermaid (小美人鱼) will be next.