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Podcast with Photographer HUGH ARNOLD
World renown fashion photographer HUGH ARNOLD (Australian Vogue, Conde Naste Traveler, Glamour) discusses his gorgeous new exhibition and book “Agua Nacida” meaning “water born” in Spanish which is a unique collection of large-scale underwater nudes, photographed amidst the unspoiled depths of the seas surrounding Fiji and Gozo. Hilton | Asmus Contemporary, 716 N. Wells Street, presents “Agua Nacida,” by photographer Hugh Arnold, Sept. 19 – Oct. 31, 2014. Arnold’s appearance at Hilton | Asmus Contemporary marks his first exhibit in North America. For more information visit hilton-asmus.com. “Aqua Nacida” can be purchased at AMAZON , BARNES AND NOBLE, and http://www.hilton-asmus.com/
Hugh Arnold was born in Chester, England and trained as an actor before being enticed into the world of photography by the light and natural outdoor elements of Australia. After being offered a contract by Australian Vogue, he returned to Europe, doing his first job exclusively with Armani for Per Lui and Leiwith Franca Sozzani in Milan. More pages followed, which was the ticket to open doors worldwide. He met Hamish Bowles at the collections in Paris who asked him to shoot Carla Bruni for Harpers and Queen, subsequently working for various magazines such as Vogue, Tatler, Conde Nast Traveller,Glamour, etc. Soon after, he started shooting worldwide beauty campaigns for L’Oreal, Pantene, Wella, Max Factor, Nivea, and La Perla.
During recent months, Hugh’s exploration of photography as an art form has allowed him to develop creatively without commercial constraint, photographing “Underwater Nudes.” He learned to scuba dive in Egypt, equipped himself with the best quality equipment, and flew to Australia to pursue his mission. Cold Antarctic currents, poor visibility, box jellyfish, and sharks all conspired to push him further afield to Fiji where he shot until storms made diving impossible. Lured by the Tuna rearing pens in Gozo, an island off the coast of Malta, he continued his mission with supermodels Nika Lauriatis and Polina Barbasova.
“Agua Nacida,” meaning “water born” in Spanish, is a unique collection of large-scale underwater nudes by renowned fashion and beauty photographer Hugh Arnold. Amidst the unspoiled depths of the seas surrounding the islands of Fiji and Gozo, Arnold was inspired in part by the human life cycle. “Agua Nacida” explores the beauty of the human form and a symbolic transition from womb to womanhood, taking us on a parallel journey beneath the surface of the sea and our soul’s hidden waters. Immersed in the playfulness and sensuality of water, the swimmers express the cycles of Woman through fluidity of movement: the womb’s embrace, growth, discovery, sexuality, and of course, beauty. Arnold’s work provokes and invokes. It arouses reflection and understanding of man’s connection to a greater and larger world.
In addition to the large-scale photographs, Hugh Arnold has compiled his work into a breathtaking 368-page book, which takes us on a journey to explore the ocean and ourselves in a new way. The book contains a collection of over 175 stunning, original colour photographs, as well as texts by Stella Thomas, Founder and President of the Global Water Fund and Anne Morrow Lindbergh, author of the acclaimed Gift from the Sea.
In an interview with HUNGER TV in London, Arnold stated, “I wanted Agua Nacida to span the symbolic transition from the cocoon of the womb, to carefree childhood, the discovery of adolescence, the sensuality of womanhood and the pain of birth, depicting each stage in the process through physical actions. I realized that I was touching something much more profound than I set out to do because everything that I had done up to this point professionally had included artifice and ego in some form or other. The moment you submerge yourself in water, no matter who you are, the ego disappears and you touch the true essence of your nature. It’s almost like going back to the beginning, being reborn, hence the title of the book – Agua Nacida ie. water born. The images take us on a parallel journey beneath the surface of the sea. Our souls’ hidden waters come from a powerful, pure and deep place that I am only now starting to understand. We are all water born….”
Hugh has devoted the last two years exclusively to this project. Today, he lives in France with his wife Celina and their four children: Paloma, Sienna, Oliver and Cosmo.
Hilton | Asmus Contemporary, 716 N. Wells Street, presents “Agua Nacida,” by photographer Hugh Arnold, Sept. 19 – Oct. 31, 2014. Arnold’s appearance at Hilton | Asmus Contemporary marks his first exhibit in North America. An opening reception with the artist will be held Friday, Sept. 19 from 5:30 – 9 p.m.
Arnold’s North American gallery debut occurs in conjunction with the September release of his new book, also titled “Agua Nacida,” published by Merrell Publishers, London.
“Agua Nacida,” meaning “water born” in Spanish, is a unique collection of large-scale underwater nudes, photographed amidst the unspoiled depths of the seas surrounding Fiji and Gozo. Inspired in part by the human life cycle, “Agua Nacida” explores the beauty of the human form and symbolic transition from womb to womanhood, while also showcasing the body so that the humans appear to become one with the sea life around them. The images are photographed and printed wall-size.
The collection features Chicago-native model Nika Lauraitis (who has appeared in Vogue Australia, Teen Vogue and Glamour magazine and has been featured in campaigns for Hermes Fragrance, Moschino Cheap and Chic, Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus and Abercrombie & Fitch) and Norwegian model Polina Barbasova, (a finalist for “Norway’s Next Top Model,” who has been featured in editorial images for Numero, Elle UK and Marie Claire).
One of the most sought-after fashion and beauty photographers in the industry, Arnold was trained as an actor but stumbled into photography between acting jobs. Arnold now focuses exclusively on fine art images. Capturing the striking underwater images required Arnold to become a certified scuba diver to scout some of the planet’s most beautiful underwater terrain, while also balancing photography equipment and directing models.
To capture the images for “Agua Nacida,” Arnold trained as a swimmer and diver in Egypt, equipped himself with the best quality equipment and initially flew to Australia to pursue his mission. Cold Antarctic currents, poor visibility, box jellyfish and sharks all conspired to push him to Fiji, where he shot until storms made diving impossible. Lured by the abundance of pristine underwater terrain and plentiful fish in Gozo, an island off Malta, he continued his mission with supermodels Lauraitis and Barbasova.
Arnold’s editorial and advertising images, as well as celebrity portraits, have appeared in the fashion industry’s leading publications around the world. After being offered a contract by Australian Vogue early in his career, he returned to Europe, doing his first job exclusively with Armani clothes for Per Lui and Lei with Franca Sozzani in Milan. More fashion shoots followed, opening doors worldwide. He met Harpers and Queen editor Hamish Bowles during Fashion Week in Paris, who asked him to shoot Carla Bruni for the magazine, and subsequently began creating editorial images for various editions of Vogue, Tatler, Conde Nast Traveler and Glamour, among others. He also started shooting worldwide beauty campaigns for L’Oreal, Pantene, Wella, Max Factor, Nivea and La Perla.
Hilton | Asmus Contemporary
With more than 25 years experience representing an international array of artists, Hilton | Asmus Contemporary is the partnership between veteran gallerist, artist and poet, Arica Hilton and her German-born husband, Sven Asmus.
Located in Chicago’s River North Art District, the gallery specializes in modern and contemporary paintings, works on paper, fiber art, glass, sculpture and photography featuring Chicago-based emerging and established artists, as well as internationally known artists from Europe and the Mediterranean Region such as Turkey, Greece, Italy and the Middle East.
Hilton | Asmus Contemporary has made it its mission to feature artwork that reflects on the essence of life in their “Return to Beauty” series. Naturally, the first exhibition, “Agua Nacida,” begins with water.
“For the next six months, the gallery will feature works that address the human relation to water, which covers more than 70% of the Earth’s surface,” says Hilton. “When a baby is born, it is made up of 80% – 90% water. As we grow into adulthood, human water composition reduces to 60% – 70%. Water is the most ‘perfect’ element that has been provided for us on this earth. For this reason, Hilton | Asmus Contemporary has chosen to dedicate the gallery space to the theme of water and all things essential to life.”