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
Do you ever think you will come up
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
Why have you not put naked men under water yet?
Claudia Legge: I have photographed male nudes for a series
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
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
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
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
Special Thanks to Maya Fiala Grau and Rose Bonham Carter