Emma Critchley

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VIDEO: Emma Critchley discusses her fascination with photographing underwater.

VIDEO: Emma Critchley discusses her fascination with photographing underwater.

VIDEO: Emma Critchley discusses her fascination with photographing underwater.

Short Listed for this year's BJP Project Award, nominated for the Paul Huf Award with Foam Magazine and recently nominated as one of the final three artists for a public art project in Brixton, London, underwater photographer Emma Critchley's career goes from strength to strength.

Emma's interest in making images underwater stems from her own personal affinity with the sub-aqua environment. As a qualified diver Emma has experienced first hand the effect water has on sound and sight, and how it seems to slow time and weaken gravity's pull. For Emma it isn't so much the beauty of this underworld that she seeks to capture, rather an exploration of how we interact physically and emotionally with this altered space.

Often working in collaboration with other artists Emma's recent project "Fear of Falling", conceived together with Sophie Lewis, has been much acclaimed. It was short listed for the Terry O'Neill Award, 2008 as well as exhibited at the Photographer's Galley and at the AOP Best of the Awards show, 2008. Shot at Action Underwater Studios this series of portraits gives us new ways to consider our experience of submergence. Based on nineteenth century portraiture in its formal style and costume the model stares out of the picture daring the viewer to question what they see. Something is not quite right and slowly we are offered tiny clues, the rising strands of hair, which offer suggestions of another world.

Emma has won a number of awards including first prize at the AOP Student Photographer of the Year Award 2005, Nagoya University Japan Graduate Show, 2004 where she won second prize and the Lynn Cohen Award at Stroud House Gallery, 2004. Her work has been exhibited both in the UK and internationally and her series "To Hold One's Breath" has been on tour in Canada and Australia 2006/2007

In October 2008 Emma was awarded the National Media Museum Photography Bursary, which she is using to continue her project on the Myanmar Sea Gypsies.