Stunning underwater photos win Catherine Laura a Clothes Show Live award
THE swimming pool at South Hunsley School might sound like a strange place for a fashion photo-shoot.
But it proved to be home from home for North Ferriby-based photographer Catherine Laura.
Now, the stunning results from her underwater session have helped earn her the title of Young Fashion Photographer Of The Year at the annual Clothes Show Live event in Birmingham.
"When I was a little girl, I always wanted to be a mermaid when I grew up," said Catherine, 23, of Plantation Drive.
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"Now I suppose I'm doing the next best thing."
Having been scuba diving since the age of ten, she decided to explore the world of underwater photography after initially wanting to be an artist.
Catherine said: "I am a really impatient person so waiting for each layer of paint to dry used to drive me crazy.
"Eventually, I decided to trade my paintbrushes for a camera and it's all gone on from there."
Her first venture underwater with a camera came when she was 15 during a scuba diving holiday.
From there, she began developing her unique style which mixes fashion with her childhood fascination of the oceans.
As well as winning a cheque for £1,000, her success in the Clothes Show Live is set to give her fledgling career a big push having recently graduated with an art and design degree.
"The competition's brief was to come up with a photograph inspired by another artist," she said.
"I chose the English fashion photographer David LaChapelle because his surreal work really appeals to me.
"I tried to incorporate some of his influences into the shoot at South Hunsley."
Working with model Zara Syrett, make-up artist Becky Longthorp and hairstylist Rick Roberts, Catherine came up with a deliberately colourful underwater image.
"When people see some of the images, they always ask if they are actually underwater or not.
"I like to get really clear images but then use the water and the light to come up with something different.
"It's a technique I'm still working on but I really love it."
She works with a specially-designed cover for her camera as well as underwater lighting rigs.
Also on hand at every shoot are support divers, including her husband James, who is a trained lifeguard.
As well as the local school swimming pool, Catherine also shoots in a diving centre in Leeds and whenever she goes on holiday near the sea.
"It sounds strange but I am more comfortable underwater.
"I've just come back from Bel Air in Los Angeles where I did some photos in a swimming pool but one of my big ambitions is to do some work in The Deep in Hull.
"I would love to give it a try in the shark tank."