Fascinated by the mystery and magic of the underwater world, 41-year-old Rafal Makiela from Poland has been into photography since 2005.
His interest in underwater photography was ignited by the photos by UK underwater photographer Zena Holloway, inspiring him to do something special.
Today he is sought after for underwater fashion photography, commercial advertising and weddings.
Art of Summer spoke to Rafal Makiela seen on this season’s cover.
What is your fascination with underwater photography?
In the underwater world everything is different, mysterious and magical with no defined spatial parameters. The law of gravity is virtually non-existent. Light propagates differently, often unpredictably. Every idea becomes feasible. Here a vision is only limited by the imagination.
Tell me about your photography highlights!
It‘s just that underwater photography is something different. The unconventionality breaks the routine of a conventional shoot and is inspiring and interesting every time. The inordinate amount of prep is a real challenge with a different result to look forward to with each shoot.
Your wife is an underwater model? How did that come about?
A professional model of four years when we met, she always wanted to try underwater posing. I organised the test shoot, the rest is history with more projects emerging for her. Posing in these conditions is not an easy skill for most models but she is very confident and natural in the water.
Your photography is reminiscent of art more so than a mere photo. Have you had any gallery exhibits?
I would be very keen to exhibit in galleries if the opportunity arose. So far I have only exhibited in online galleries and at smaller events.
Apparently, after having been self-taught you became a professional photographer. Is it still difficult for you to do an underwater shoot? What are the challenges for you today?
I have met a lot of amazing people who are up to the challenge of adjusting to my underwater shoot specifications. Safety is always a big concern for me and I always try to have a diver assistant on standby for the model. I also wish to add some scenography to my shoots in future, not an easy task but I’m working at it slowly.
What is your main passion in photography?
Underwater photography, of course (he smiles). There is a certain beauty in unpredictability. The flow of the gravity free movement with underwater lighting ambience is like another world for me.
What triggers your inspiration most? Ideas kind of come to me from everywhere and grow effortlessly in my mind, of course in combination with inspiration from within.
More ideas or projects ahead? Any long-term goals? I would really love to shoot in Mexico‘s ocean where the underwater sculptures are found and use a medium format camera to do so. It would also be my dream to shoot at Atlantis or the Dubai Mall‘s aquarium. My long-term goal is to keep growing and get to see more of the world at the hands of my photography.