“To have your passion stirred up inside you, to be renewed and inspired is a driving force, an oasis, and an addiction.”

Ilse Moore is renowned in South Africa as an underwater fashion, portrait and fine art photographer. She grew up in Deneysville in the Free State on a yacht club and has always had a great love for water and watersport. Coming from a creative family, her love of art finally blended with her love of water though underwater fine art images.
Since finishing her degree in Visual Arts through the University of South Africa in 2009, she has been working as a visual art teacher as well as a wedding and underwater photographer. While she no longer teacher art, her creative outlet has turned purely to photography.

“I have always been attracted to surreal imagery. I believe that photography as a medium lends a kind of realism to these “fantasies”, allowing it to exist in closer relationship to the viewer.
I enjoy that it suggests the possibility of truth.
There is very little control underwater and although I can manipulate any particular set to achieve exactly what I initially envisioned, the unplanned visuals that happen under the surface often determine the direction I take the shoot as it constantly changes and forms new meanings. The characters I portray often seem to evolve or deteriorate underwater. I wouldn’t like to remove this aspect of my shooting, the surprise of the change appeals too much to me.
To me, water is a symbolic birthing place. I can attempt to control it, but it has a life of its own. It becomes like another dimension, dreamlike, unreal, yet deep-rooted in our being. As an artist, I want to explore it as a symbol that nurtures the psyche, be it positive or negative.
Gaining control over something that is so uncontrollable by nature is always a challenge. Once the model is under the water I have very little control; the dresses cannot be strategically placed nor can the models be specifically posed. Water visibility and a variety of lighting options is also a priority when planning a shoot. Depending on the weather, light or even the wardrobe, the approach for a certain shoot can often change at the last minute, however, every environment becomes a potential opportunity to do something differently. The skill of the model will also set the tone for the entire shoot, so I need to trust them to understand my vision before going in the water.

Like any art form or creative outlet, it is so important to keep challenging yourself. When you do not pour your creative energy and your own self into a particular project, your work can easily start to stagnate and it will quickly cease to enrich and inspire you. I am hoping to break past my comfort zone with every new shoot and to seek ways to learn and grow, not just in my technical ability, but my way of thinking and conceptualizing. Aesthetic appeal alone can so easily hold one back from growing and my personal goal is for this to start playing a smaller and smaller role in my work. To have your passion stirred up inside you, to be renewed and inspired is a driving force, an oasis, and an addiction.”

About the project:

Inspired of the Greek mythological tale of Galatea, we made use of the incredible fashion designs of Joel Janse van Vuuren. His designs are emphasized by- and wraps around air and water as if becoming a part of it.

“ Joel Janse van Vuuren is a bit like Disney but with clothes. Even though this shoot is named The Spirit of Galatea, which refers to the Pygmalion’s statue in Greek Mythology that came to life, I would like to analyse it through my glitter filled eyes. Shot by Ilse Moore, who is much like God’s gift to fashion photography, the campaign is able to fast forward your imagination into fairytale land, where there is a world under the sea, animals talk and grass is edible.

Read the full article on Israeli Lens Magazine Issue #12 Water&Underwater Photography



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