CLAUDIA LEGGE’S HYPNOTIC UNDERWATER WORLD

CLAUDIA LEGGE’S HYPNOTIC UNDERWATER WORLD

The London native photographer talks to us about the tranquil nature of water

by Ellie Howard

She has all the makings of a sixties starlet; with her leonie locks pushed back behind one ear to reveal a wide smile, Claudia Legge exudes a wonderfully effervescent warmth. It’s a winter morning, and we are welcomed inside a rickety narrow boat moored on regents canal. The twinkling interior is bedazzled with enough gypsy ephemera to possibly sink it. Sitting on a patchwork sofa, nestled amongst trinkets found on exotic travels, it becomes clear that Claudia is a wanderer, the type that delights in the depths of watery escapism. Claudia rose to prominence with her hypnotic underwater photography, composed of nudes suspended in aquatic poses. Part of the all-girl collective World Wide Women in Camden, Claudia is fast becoming fashion photography’s new darling, with an extensive portfolio to prove it.

Do you ever think you will come up to air? Or are you happy trading earth for water?
Claudia Legge: I always knew that I was going to be a photographer. I originally started off out of water, and I still shoot travel, fashion and fine art this way, so I have a balance between them. But once I started photographing underwater, I never really looked back. I just love the process of an underwater shoot; it is very exhausting both mentally and physically, but you unharness this ultimate creativity. It gives you so much more freedom that you wouldn’t find in a normal studio. Underwater photography excites me so much because of it’s potential; I have definitely found my direction.

Why have you not put naked men under water yet?
Claudia Legge: I have photographed male nudes for a series before but something wasn’t quite right about them. I definitely want to try more series with men but it’s finding the right project. I’m actually planning a music video with a very talented male musician, which is seriously exciting. 

What is the one thing you would like someone to take away from your work?

Claudia Legge: When I have an idea of a shoot, I meticulously plan it in water and out of water. I guess it is like my fantasy world, my alternative reality. I would want to show someone a part of my imagination, for that to then inspire them, and for them to go and create their own little fantasy world. Inspiring people to be imaginative.

You are part of the World Wide Women collective, which is a wonderful way for female artists to unite; do you think your sisters have helped shape your photography practice?

Claudia Legge: It is a confidence boost in a way, especially as a young female photographer. It kind of gives you a sense of empowerment; we all support each other. It is tough to survive in this industry, because there are fewer women involved, and many assistant photographers are male because assisting is a very physical task that requires heavy lifting. So WWW collective creates this energy, it gives you a voice. But in terms of my practice, I have become more ambitious and some of the photographers are brilliant, seriously people I admire, exhibiting alongside them makes me only want to produce better work, I have to keep up my standards.

Is photographing under the sea spiritual in any way? It must be another world, under a blanket of water.

Claudia Legge: Definitely, that is how I got into the underwater photography. I loved the escapist aspect; I could find the calm and escape the chaos. I could get into my own headspace and not have to talk to anyone. You develop this connection; it is just you and the model, without the stress of the outside world.

What does DADA mean to you? Just very cool. I am so proud to show people it and say look what I have become a part of Kids of Dada. The artists are really quirky, really original and different.

Do you think photography has the power to change the world?

Claudia Legge: When I first decided to become a photographer, I wanted to become a war photojournalist. Photography is a universal translation; it has the power to evoke empathy in the deepest sense. Steve Mcurry’s iconic image “Afghan Girl” is so powerful, because you immediately relate to it. Photography can create empathy within people, to go and change the world through actions. And in another sense, a work can ignite something within a person, an internal change that has a knock on effect.

What can Londoners learn from living on a boat?

Claudia Legge: Living on a boat is the dream; I am obsessed with boats. You open your door every morning and you are not in London, you are a world away. It’s like you have this secret from everybody. When you are on the water, it is another form of escapism as it slows you down. I don’t even have WI-FI here. You become aware of your waste, and how much electricity you use. Living on a boat educates you. You also have a sense of the sublime; you stay in touch with the seasons and you are controlled by the elements. You realise how small and insignificant you are, when you look out and see vast expanse of water. I find that so important, to realise that your issues aren’t that big. You become your own little island, stranded in a good way.

What is the most beautiful thing you have ever photographed?

Claudia Legge: The last ever-saltwater swimming elephant, he lives on the Andaman Islands. Just swimming up against this magnificent creature, watching him do doggie paddle then duck dive was so beautiful. It is illegal to train elephants anymore; in the past they transported logs from island to island and it takes them a while to learn, but Elephants love to swim. He was trained as a baby, and now he is in his late 60’s.

Click here to see more of Claudia's work

Special Thanks to Maya Fiala Grau and Rose Bonham Carter

Leave a comment

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published.

90'S GRUNGE WEIGHS IN ON FASHION

Smudged lipstick, lolita-esque nighties, & ripped stockings, ready to confuse & disturb

Chloe Mackey

Read more »
Share »

A SEXLESS SOCIETY IS HERE

Fashion rides the gender blending trend  

Maria Raposo

Read more »
Share »

THE HEDI SLIMANE EFFECT ON YVES SAINT LAURENT

How the designer remade the house of Yves Saint Laurent

Greg French

Read more »
Share »

NAN GOLDIN: THE BALLAD OF SEXUAL DEPENDENCY

The artist captures the essence of humanity and life on the edge

Ellie Howard

Read more »
Share »

SYNCHRODOGS: “I must be dreaming”

We speak to the photography duo about synchronicity & the power of dreams

Ellie Howard

Read more »
Share »

MEET THE ARTISTS CHINA CAN'T KEEP CONTAINED

Artists Sun Yuan & Peng Yu use dead babies & live animals in their creations to blur the lines of art & reality

Peter Yeung

Read more »
Share »

JOSEPH BEUYS: I LIKE AMERICA AND AMERICA LIKES ME

What we can learn from artist about race relations and how to heal a nation    

Peter Yeung

Read more »
Share »

THE COLLAGE RENAISSANCE

Contemporary collage is the new Pop Art collectors are buying into

Harriet Baker

Read more »
Share »

DAVID BOWIE PUSHED THE LIMITS OF MUSIC, ART & FASHION

Bowie was an artist and an explorer that embodied true individuality that our generation craves

Fiona Ma

Read more »
Share »

FASHION PHOTOGRAPHY GETS HYPER-REAL

From Erwin Blumenfeld to Nick Knight, fashion constructs fantastical images

Greg French

Read more »
Share »

90'S GRUNGE WEIGHS IN ON FASHION

Smudged lipstick, lolita-esque nighties, & ripped stockings, ready to confuse & disturb

Chloe Mackey

Read more »
Share »

A SEXLESS SOCIETY IS HERE

Fashion rides the gender blending trend  

Maria Raposo

Read more »
Share »

THE HEDI SLIMANE EFFECT ON YVES SAINT LAURENT

How the designer remade the house of Yves Saint Laurent

Greg French

Read more »
Share »

NAN GOLDIN: THE BALLAD OF SEXUAL DEPENDENCY

The artist captures the essence of humanity and life on the edge

Ellie Howard

Read more »
Share »

SYNCHRODOGS: “I must be dreaming”

We speak to the photography duo about synchronicity & the power of dreams

Ellie Howard

Read more »
Share »

MEET THE ARTISTS CHINA CAN'T KEEP CONTAINED

Artists Sun Yuan & Peng Yu use dead babies & live animals in their creations to blur the lines of art & reality

Peter Yeung

Read more »
Share »

JOSEPH BEUYS: I LIKE AMERICA AND AMERICA LIKES ME

What we can learn from artist about race relations and how to heal a nation    

Peter Yeung

Read more »
Share »

THE COLLAGE RENAISSANCE

Contemporary collage is the new Pop Art collectors are buying into

Harriet Baker

Read more »
Share »

DAVID BOWIE PUSHED THE LIMITS OF MUSIC, ART & FASHION

Bowie was an artist and an explorer that embodied true individuality that our generation craves

Fiona Ma

Read more »
Share »

FASHION PHOTOGRAPHY GETS HYPER-REAL

From Erwin Blumenfeld to Nick Knight, fashion constructs fantastical images

Greg French

Read more »
Share »

THE EVOCATIVE IMAGES OF STREET PHOTOGRAPHY

Eminent street photographers find beauty in the ordinary

Leah Sinclair

Read more »
Share »

THE ZINE SCENE IS BACK

Self-Publishing is Having a Moment and It’s Redefining Youth and Self Expression

Leah Sinclair

Read more »
Share »

PLASTIC PURGERY – BARBIE IN BONDAGE BREAKS THE INTERNET

Photographer Mariel Clayton Reinvents the Stereotype of the Female Form

Fiona Ma

Read more »
Share »

LOUIS VUITTON - SERIES 3 EXHIBITION

Nicolas Ghesquière: less mask, more man

Greg French

Read more »
Share »

REGENERATION OR GENTRIFICATION?

The changing face of London’s artistic communities

Peter Yeung

Read more »
Share »

INSIDE THE CHELSEA HOTEL

The legendary New York hangout of rockstars and Hollywood royalty

Ellie Howard

Read more »
Share »

IN CONVERSATION WITH OLAF BREUNING

The artist talks about the endless interpretations of his work and life

Ellie Howard

Read more »
Share »

REVEALED: KURT COBAIN'S ORIGINAL ARTWORK

A dark look into the mind of Nirvana’s tortured frontman

Daryl Mersom

Read more »
Share »

ABOUT A GIRL: TEENAGERS IN POP CULTURE

Exploring media fantasies from saints to bad-ass sinners of female youth

Leah Sinclair

Read more »
Share »

ART GONE VIRAL

Performance art videos are paving the way for activism through social media

Leah Sinclair

Read more »
Share »

IN CONVERSATION WITH ARTIST TOM LEAMON

The ritual experiments of painting and poetry

Ellie Howard

Read more »
Share »

COLLAGE ARTIST HOLLY-ANNE BUCK/COLLAGISM

We talk to the artist about playing with abstraction & reconstructing reality

Ellie Howard

Read more »
Share »

FROM UNISEX TO ANTI-FASHION

Meet Rudi Gernreich, the first gender blender fashion activist

Alessandro Esculapio

Read more »
Share »

THE REVIVAL OF WARP N’ WEFT

From artisan to art; the lost craft of tapestry is making a comeback

KOD Staff

Read more »
Share »

THE ALCHEMY OF COLLAGE: ARTISTS IRINA & SILVIU SZEKELY

Art is not art if it doesn’t generate misrepresentation, confusion, anger or sarcasm

Ellie Howard

Read more »
Share »

THE CREATIVE CLASS: MAKING IT THEIR WAY

Photographer Francesca Allen captures the talented, genuine and real

KOD Staff

Read more »
Share »

'80S ICON KEITH HARING’S POP SHOP

The Art and Commerce of Giving Back

Alessandro Esculapio

Read more »
Share »

THE DEATH OF BRONSON

The art and literature of "Charles Bronson"; Britain's most notorious prisoner

KOD Staff

Read more »
Share »

THE PSYCHEDELIC LOVE-IN OF THE FABULOUS COCKETTES

San Francisco’s original underground glitter troupe

KOD Staff

Read more »
Share »

THE MODERN DAY DANDY CULT

Old fashioned values and classic sartorial style returns to mens fashion

Ellie Howard

Read more »
Share »
Top