Seldom do you hear of models who do more than just pose in front of a camera; or at least society doesn’t do enough of a job to highlight models who do more than just that. Such is the story of Aldara Ortega, fashion model, painter and extraordinary photographer from Madrid, Spain. This past October, Aldara had her first solo exhibition for her underwater photography collection “Liquid Project” at the NH3 Gallery at Splashlight Studios in New York City. Her photographic relationship with women and underwater imagery attracted me to her growing work. Get to know the beautiful face behind this intimate dream.
What is the Liquid Project?
Liquid Project is an underwater photography exhibition that captures the interplay between water, light, shadows and the female form. Also, the freedom and joy that I experience while submerged in it.
What are your pictures and artwork a response to?
My underwater photography is a way to express the joy and feeling of liberation that I feel when I am in water.
What do you aim to do with your work?
Through my artwork, I aim to give visual form to this magical light-infused world, where muted sound, sense of weightlessness and mesmerizing light take me to an energized meditative state. My creative process involves the manipulation of the interplay between light and shadows, water and form. The result is an always unique design in patterns of refracted light. Being so influenced by the fashion world and having designed women’s wear, has given me an appreciation for the female form, which plays a big part in my art.
Water is a recurring theme in your work. What is it about water that fascinates you the most?
How light reacts beneath the surface of water is something that is mesmerizing to me. Also, the way that we humans react when we are in water. Suddenly we become weightless and when submerged, is like being in an other world.
Why is your focus primarily around women?
I love to photograph women because its a similar representation of how I feel when I am in water.
What is your creative process as a photographer?
I always think about a concept before hand and with that idea I execute the photo shoot. However, it is always a bit of an experiment when shooting, because I can’t control the water or the light since I shoot with natural light. I love this surprise factor because I am never quite certain of what I will get and it always ends up being a great image.
How did you realize that you wanted to transition from modeling to photography?
There has not been a transition per say yet since I still model and it’s my main income source. The transition was really more from painting to photography, since that is what I started with. The realization in this came when I was shooting to get inspiration for my paintings and my mixed media. At one point the images that I was getting were so beautiful to my eyes that I felt no need to transform them to paintings.
Wonderful. What photographers or things influence you the most?
I have been influenced by painters mostly because my creative process and what gives the style to my images is the work in post production. I pull the colors out of the flat images that I get underwater and enhance them to my liking. However, there is a number of photographers that I admire such as Irving Penn, Helmun Newton and Ansel Adams.