Emma Tooth underwater!


In 2004 Emma secured Arts Council funding for the expansion of her Ophelia series. There were already 4 Ophelia paintings completed over the previous few years and Emma decided she wanted the paintings not only to have an underwatery feeling, but for the figure to actually be posed underwater, with all the attendant effects of low gravity, floating hair and clothing etc which are completely different to anything she's worked with before.

Obviously this meant working with a photographer (enter the long-suffering Owen Tooth), lighting and the hire of a pool and so on, not least an element of danger. Emma faced her fears to swim in her extraordinary costumes with her eyes open in a heavily chlorinated pool with cotton wool stuffed unglamorously up her nose to stop the water getting in! Swimming in costume is enormously difficult, as it taking the necessary deep breaths and holding them in a corset!

Look at the colour of the whites of Emma's swollen eyes after 3 hours underwater! (yes, it was as painful as it looks!) They remained like this for days after.