Beth Mitchell describes herself as an 'underwater fine art photographer', which sounds like a field that she might have all to herself. “Yeah, its totally niche!” laughs the 27-year-old, who last year walked away from a career in real estate to embrace the artistic life. This aquatic scene, from Mitchell’s series The Dome, was inspired by the Renaissance art she’d gorged on during a trip to Rome, Venice and Florence. She shot it in a backyard pool in Coorparoo, suburban Brisbane.
The pool belongs to her partner’s family. They’re an easygoing lot – which is just as well, because she stook over the place for two days with models, a makeup artist and $500 worth of flowers. And while the end result looks serene, the process is anything but: Mitchell painstakingly arranges the backdrop and props, securing them with fishing line and gym weights 9including a 5kg barbell disc down her pants, so she doesn’t bob around like a cork); then she and the model submerge themselves, locked in a creative dance for as long as their breath-hold allows. This particular image proved too difficult to achieve in a single take – things kept falling over – so she ended up shooting some flowers individually then putting it all together in post-production.
Michell, who before she escaped real estate escaped Toowoomba – “As soon as I could stand on my own two feet I was outta there!”- loves to experiment. She covered a model head-to-toe in medical glue then rolled her in glitter once (“it looked ethereal underwater, ”she enthuses), and pumped clouds of acrylic paint around another aquatic muse. She suffers for her art occasionally. Like the time she dumped a load of metallic confetti into a pool scene, to play with the natural light. “The next day I had to spend hours fishing it all out with a net. I ended up getting heatstroke.”
By Ross Bilton
The Weekend, Australian Magazine, Page 9, February 2019