Zena Holloway (1973), the daughter of an airline pilot, fell in love with the water first, photography second. Born in Bahrain and raised between London and pretty much everywhere else in the world, she went on her first dive in England as a teenager. Her images are striking, instinctive and driven by a deep understanding of her medium. She delivers the remarkable, combining the highly technical aspects of underwater photography with superb creative direction resulting in extraordinary, ethereal and magical imagery. She has taken underwater photography to entirely new depths.
Working almost exclusively underwater, she has photographed Olympians, sports personalities, singers and songwriters as well as newborn babies, indigenous peoples and creatures of all shapes and sizes – both marine and terrestrial.
Her images have appeared in publications such as How to Spend it, Harpers Bazaar, GQ, Vanity Fair, The Observer, 125, Stylist, Quintessentially Magazine, Sunday Times, JFW, Twill, Dazed &Confused, Vision, Neon, National Geographic, Paris Match, Schon and Cent magazine. She has garnered multiple awards at prestigious international photography competitions including Communication Arts, PDN, Cannes, Applied Arts, AoP, IPA, Nikon international and RPS.
Her photography delivers audiences to an underwater realm witnessed by few and has led to commissions from a huge range of clients including: B&H (Leo Burnett, Mexico), Built with Chocolate Milk (Campbell Ewald NY), English National Opera, The Royal Ballet, Pepsi, Speedo, Radox (Grey), Camay (Leo Burnett, Hong Kong), Nike, Herbal Essences (Leo Burnett, London), Umbro, Olay (Saatchi & Saatchi NY), Jacuzzi (Y&R San Fran), Greenpeace (Saatchi & Saatchi, London), Shangri-La (O&M, HongKong), Sony (TBWA), EMI, GlaxoSmithKline (Ogilvy), Epson (Burkitt DDB) and the BBC.
Zena lives on the outskirts of London with her husband and three young children in a converted Ministry of Defence underground torpedo-testing centre. When she’s not underwater taking pictures, she can often be found cycling with the kids to school through Bushy Park or outside feeding their Chalk Hill Blue hens.
HER PHOTOGRAPHIC STORY ... IS A JOURNEY TO PARADISE, A RETURN TO NATURE
Edward Weston (1886-1958) was a 20th century photographer. He lived in a time when the science of photography was just emerging and he began to take pictures as a result of his “amazement at subject matter.” It was a visit to the coral reefs of the Red Sea that offered me this “amazement of subject matter” and led me to pick up my first camera. I taught myself to use it and started on the path of becoming an underwater photographer.
Water has enabled me to fly with eagle rays, dance with dolphins and come face to face with some big sharks. I’ve uncovered buried treasure, hitchhiked on submarines, discovered ancient wrecks and taught a few mermaids along the way. I draw upon all my experiences underwater to share the secrets of the sites I’ve seen or the emotions that I have felt. I like to think of the water as the canvas, the light as the paint and the human body as a vessel for sharing the narrative.
– Zena Holloway