Glamour and Glitz of the Submerged
Award-winning underwater fine art photographer hailing from Brisbane, Beth Mitchell makes magic in the submerged realm. Her work is mesmerising, intense, enchanting and oh so captivating. Practically born with a camera in her hands, Beth narrates that of fairytales through the photography medium.
You started shooting underwater 10 years ago, what was it that drew you to the photography medium and also the style of photography? ~ I have always loved photography and picked up a camera around age 12. I left school around 16 years old to study photography without knowing entirely what genre I would concentrate on. I knew it would be around femininity and portraiture but I wasn’t sure if it would be a commercial angle or fine art. I remember seeing a photographer in the Bahamas shoot her child underwater and being someone who always adored the water, something inside me knew straight away that was what I wanted to focus on.
Can you explain what happens in the lead up to and during an underwater shoot and how long you usually spend post-production? ~ There is a lot of plannning in the lead up to a shoot. Even though you need to adapt to the situation on the day, it is important everything is well thought out with props, team and fashion. I have had prep times from initial concept through to completion be up to one year. In terms of the post-production process, again it will depend on the body of work. My recent series “The Dome” was months of post-production because each individual flower and girl had to be separately photographed and I was playing with perspective and tones which had a purpose to suit each scene and it stretched my skills a lot.
Do you have any major influences or mentors that have kept you motivated? ~ Yes, the moment I feel unmotivated, something visual really motivates me. That can be music, traveling (architecture, historic art, culture) and fashion designers mostly. For example, there is a bit of a tribute to Ted Bakers floral tones in one scene of my newest series.
How did you break into exhibiting your work and gaining gallery representation at Lethbridge Gallery? ~ Asking the question, even if it is premature. My medium was unique and even though it perhaps wasn’t at the level it is now five years ago, there were still opportunities which unfolded due to the question being asked. Only now am I starting to feel “worthy” of expansion. And even then it is tough, there is a lot of rejection, particularly with photography being my medium, Australia is slow in accepting Photography as a worthy art form. We shall get there one day.
Do you have any creative projects you are currently involved in or working towards? ~ Yes, this year I am producing more work. Previously I have worked on 1-2 bodies of work per year but I feel I need to put more importance of doing more.
What does success mean to you? ~ This is really hard. But probably success to me means tapping into the right market nationally and internationally and feeling a flow with the galleries/social media avenues. I do not feel even close to a flow. But that could also be because I constantly aim higher. Another success would be a sold out show.
What makes you delightfully happy? ~ A solo show that goes well. In terms of engagement. I refer to an exhibition as my version of a wedding day. The work isn’t complete until it is hung on those walls.
Do you have other interests that you explore? ~ Fashion, and at times I want to be moving art. I adore fashion design (as an consumer, not a designer) and that brings me true joy. I also love property and architecture. In terms of the selling, design appreciation, real estate market angle. That really stimulates me.
Would you have done anything differently 10 years ago if you knew what you know now? ~ Yesssss. Always have a contract in place. Art is not exempt from business and people will take advantage of young talent. I would also apply better confidence and a business mind. I feel it has cost me a lot of opportunities. Luck is part of it, but those of us who aren’t in the right place at the right time need to be strategic or you may end up taking a long time to go anywhere.