Xposure International Photography Festival is the largest dedicated photography trade and imaging show in the Middle East.
In November I was lucky enough to be invited to exhibit in a huge, purpose built underwater aquarium installed for the 2017 event. Of course I’ve worked in aquariums before but this was the first time that I’ve been the subject. Models, Kim Lysette (UK), Krysia Makiela (UAE) and I were on the inside looking out at other photographers taking pictures of us. It makes me wonder who was photographing who?
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 in the world, she went on her first dive in England as a teenager. After school, she travelled to Egypt for a holiday but stayed on alone to qualify as an instructor at a local diving centre. It was here that she first took a camera underwater, fascinated by marine life on the coral reefs. Zena then realised that she wanted to spend the majority of her waking hours beneath the surface and by the ocean.
A few years later, Zena saw a film crew carrying a model dressed as a mermaid into the sea to shoot a commercial. With that, her path was set. Using the same unsophisticated underwater camera her mother got her at the age of 18, she decided to chart her own course in an ultra-niche profession. Nobody showed her the ropes; she taught herself. Zena shoots fine art, editorial, celebrities, sport, fashion and lifestyle imagery. Her work deviates from the stereotypical directness associated with underwater photography, as she strives to push the boundaries of her imagination and the limits of creativity. The result is truly magical imagery that has resulted in worldwide acclaim.