Saturday, May 26, 2018

Into the Pool: Bond by Gordon Nebeker

'Life looks better...under water!'

If you think back to when you were a kid, the above quote rings hauntingly true. No matter what was going on in your life, issues at school, with family or friends. Even currently issues just above the surface disappeared, or at least were muted when went under water. The sounds were fuzzy, the light and objects about out of focus and distant. As long as you could hold your breath.... you were safe, you were happy and you were at peace.

Inevitably however, you were forced to ascend, and that split second between below and above the surface was jarring, as the light hits your eyes and the sounds get maddeningly loud again. But... if you have the time, you can take a deep breath, and return for awhile, to the bottom of the pool.

Last month, when I featured Gordon Nebeker's work with the delectable Bond Brown, I focused on Gordon's work inside. If your saw that post (Proportional Posturing) you enjoyed Gordon's images of Bond having fun on tables, couches, chairs and counter tops.

Gordon described Bond as the human Energizer Bunny due to his high energy, enthusiasm and because when it comes to being in front of the camera, Bond is always on and ready to go. There was another part to Bond's day with Gordon and it involved both artist and model heading into the deep end. With Memorial Weekend upon us, I saved this set of images until it was time to open up the pool.

'I first worked with Bond in July ’14 when he came up from NYC to Boston on a bus so that we could do an underwater shoot together. He wanted to give it a try and with his long curly hair, I knew he would look great underwater. He did and then some!'

Gordon's underwater work has become one of his trademarks and the water ballet he captures is a visual blur of beauty, bringing about similar sensations we all experienced when we went under when we were kids. In order to capture the gravity defying water dance, Gordon spends most of the shoot looking up, balancing himself  and his camera as he shoots from the bottom of the pool. The water acts as a filter to the sunlight creating a kaleidoscope effect of glistening color and light.

'To this day, he remains one of the best underwater models I have worked with. He participates actively in the creative process and he is willing to work on a shot until we get it right. Some of the underwater shots in this article have become favorites of viewers at my photography exhibitions. My neverending challenge with underwater work is to create pieces that are semi abstract or impressionistic which often involves the surface reflections of what is taking place underwater. I don’t manipulate these photographs as much in post processing as one might think. It is pretty much what I see from under the water!'

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