About Zena Holloway
Water is my medium, an unpredictable, bewitching environment where I can throw out the rulebook of the atmosphere and just observe. Water acts like a leveler, Underwater, there’s no reflection on the eyes as the water mixes with the liquid surface, like washing away the mask we wear on land.
But what really intrigues me is something deeper. Many people express themselves in an incredibly natural, intuitive way, becoming perfect subjects for telling stories through body language. Perhaps it’s the restricted visibility and the dreamlike environment that makes us less inhibited. Maybe it’s just something that connects with our very, very distant past. The chances are, it all plays a part and the effect is made even more magical by the visually transformative effects of water.
My images illuminate the space between myth and reality. Somewhere in between is a world of imagination that I inspire to bring to life.
Zena Holloway (1973), the daughter of an airline pilot, fell in love with the water first, photography second. Born in Bahrain and raised between London and pretty much everywhere else, she went on her first dive as a teenager. Zena quickly realized that she wanted to spend the majority of her waking hours beneath the surface and by the ocean.
Some years later, Zena saw a film crew on a commercial shoot carrying a model dressed as a mermaid into the sea. With that, her path was set. Using the same unsophisticated underwater camera her mother got her at 18, she decided to teach herself and to chart her own course in an ultra-niche profession.
“Water has enabled me to fly with eagle rays, dance with dolphins and come face to face with some particularly spectacular sharks. I’ve uncovered 18th century skeletons – complete with military uniform – discovered priceless treasure from ancient wrecks, hitchhiked on submarines and taught a few mermaids how to pose along the way. I think of the water as my canvas and the light as the paint. My goal is always to find the heart of every project and let the water create the magic.”
Daegu MBC. South Korea.
Changwon Cultural Foundation. South Korea.
Hyundai Arts Center. Ulsan, South Korea.
Busan Cinema Center. South Korea.
Seoul Arts Center. Seoul, South Korea.
Swansong. Bo.Lee Gallery. Bath, England.
Palm Tree Gallery. London, England.
Art Mode Design: Esthetique et Philosophie du Monde Aquatique. Musée de la Porte Dorée. Paris, France. Curator: Egle Barone Visigalli.
Swansong. Saatchi Gallery. London, England.
Swansong. Calken Gallery. London, England.
Swansong. Tatar Gallery. Toronto, Canada.
Swansong. Schouwburg. Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Swansong. The Hospital. London, England.