Models mix with fish in Red Sea photo contest

Mon Oct 28, 2013 1:19pm EDT
 
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By Ari Rabinovitch

EILAT, Israel (Reuters) - A gust of air ruffled her white wedding dress before Hagar Cohen dived into the Red Sea, high heels sparkling in the sun as she disappeared beneath the waves.

Minutes later the 33-year-old Israeli diving instructor, moonlighting as a model, was posing on a sunken missile ship 20 m (60 feet) below the surface of the Gulf of Eilat - for an underwater photo competition.

Italian photographer Giordano Cipriani shot Cohen for about 30 minutes, directing her in sign language as the wedding gown floated freely about her as it never would on land.

Cipriani's wet-suited mother was on hand to administer gulps of air from her scuba tank to Cohen so she wouldn't expire.

The shipwreck was a popular location at this year's Eilat Red Sea World of Underwater Images, where about 80 amateur and professional photographers competed in what they say is the world's biggest underwater photo "shootout".

Most photographers combed the seabed day and night for exotic aquatic life. A handful entered the "Fish and Fashion" category, in which the "photographer can make use of nudity, fashion and styling elements upon his choice".

Underwater photography, for most, is an expensive hobby. A camera with a waterproof casing can be bought for several hundred dollars. But high-end systems, with multiple lenses and flashes extending out like crab's legs, cost up to $40,000. And that does not include the scuba gear.

"When I first decided to take it to the next level, I had to sell my motorcycle to buy the equipment," said Cipriani, 39, who works as a travel photographer.   Continued...

 
A model opens her mouth to breathe from a scuba tank as Israeli photographer Johannes Felten (L) takes pictures during an underwater photo shoot in the Red Sea in the resort city of Eilat October 22, 2013. REUTERS/Gabriel Rif