Photographer Elena Kalis has a very unique way of capturing people; as an underwater photographer, her work is very different to anything else.

Elena spoke exclusively to Gutter Magazine about breathing new life into a very old story.

How long have you been a photographer?

About 5 years

Underwater photography is an unusual style, where did you initially get the idea from?

I live on the small island in The Bahamas, surrounded by clear warm ocean.
I spend a lot of time in the water and often with my camera. Things look very different underwater. I like how different things and people look underwater, movements are graceful and free and it has a dreamlike quality that is difficult to achieve on land. Shapes, lights, colors are shifting all the time. Everything is fluid. I became interested in capturing this environment.

Why did you choose to recapture “Alice” in your own unique way?

“Alice In Wonderland” is my favourite book of all time.  It’s limitless and free. It is open to interpretations, and so many people are inspired by it. It occurred to me that the place Alice found herself when she fell in the rabbit hole or when she went on the other side of the mirror has the same quality as being underwater: different perception of reality, weightless, a dreamlike surreal feeling. I took it from there and made my own interpretation of the story.

You had your daughter model as “Alice”, has this inspired you to collaborate more in the future?

My daughter Sacha was 10, same age as Carroll’s “Alice” when we started playing Wonderland underwater. She is a natural mermaid and could swim before she could walk. It is easy to work together as she understands very well what I want to capture.We often just try new ideas while swimming in the ocean.

Are you pleased with the end result?

It took about 2 year to capture a collection of images for this project, although I can’t say that it is finished even now. I like the creative process but it always leaves me drained, underwater photography is physically very demanding. It’s difficult to be objective about the result of your own work.

What will you be looking to tackle next?

I like underwater photography and still explore new concepts and ideas.  It is a fascinating and rich subject for me. I also would like to do more videography in future.

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