Aaron Hogan makes his living at the helm of Eye Wander Photo, preserving weddings, people and other special occasions in photographs.
But for the last half of 2015, Hogan, and often, his wife, actor Jency Hogan, spent their off-hours submerged in a pool, capturing the emotional, otherworldly images that became OVRFLO, a collection of underwater photographs that will be on display at The Healthcare Gallery, now through April 1.
Hogan will participate in a reception from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday at the gallery, 3488 Brentwood Drive, Suite 103.
Looking back, Hogan said he learned a lot about his craft, about himself and about how to translate his ideas into art.
Initially inspired by the work of New York-based Howard Schatz, Hogan began experimenting with underwater photography when a client hired him to take a portrait of a graduating high school senior. She was looking for something a little different from the normal senior portrait, Hogan said, and was willing to jump in the family pool wearing her prom dress.
That session fueled Hogan’s vision to use the water as a medium to capture momentum, which, he said, aligns perfectly with his artistic interests.
“During most photo sessions, I ask my subjects to jump or run or spin or flip,” Hogan said in an e-mail. Many of his subjects in the OVRFLO exhibit are athletes and performers — mostly dancers.
“Dancers have been among my favorite subjects to photograph, so it was only natural I include them in this project,” Hogan said.
Hogan said his goal with the project was to celebrate struggle, adversity and the capacity of people to overcome it. Looking back over the work he did on the project, much of the emotion he captured on camera mimicked his own struggle in the pool.
“It was very challenging. I had no idea how challenging it would be,” he said.
From working out technical issues with lighting, to creating his own sunken backdrop to the serious physical demands of taking photos in scuba gear, Hogan said he probably learned as much about patience as he did about taking photos in the water.
Though the Hogans cast models for the project by looking for people who would be comfortable in front of the camera and in the water, there were still many challenges to overcome.
“There are about 20 things that need to happen at exactly the same time to come out with a good take,” he said, and despite the odds, was able to capture a show-worthy photo from every session.
Hogan said he would give the models instructions on the surface of the pool — Hogan set up an underwater “studio” in a 12-foot deep pool at a private residence in Baton Rouge — then submerge with his finger on the shutter the entire time.
Since the models had to breathe out to get under the water’s surface, the takes were in short increments — a few seconds at a time. They’d resurface, and Hogan would ask the models to make adjustments, and they’d submerge again.
Hogan planned his Monday underwater sessions carefully, arranging for up to three models per session, taking about 3,000 photos per model.
In addition to being one of his models, Jency Hogan spent a lot of time in the water in scuba gear, either holding lights, draping 3-yard lengths of colored chiffon around the models, or otherwise assisting in the sessions.
“We were in great shape after all that,” she said.
Hogan said he sees the show as a way to set himself apart, both as an artist and a working photographer.
Hogan offers underwater photography sessions to clients, he said, including underwater senior portraits and underwater wedding photos.
OVRFLO is free and open to the public.
For more information about the exhibit and other exhibits at The Healthcare Gallery, visit the gallery’s website, www.thehealthcaregallery.com. View the event page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/events/1102633103080612/.
In addition to Hogan’s work, the show and reception will also feature the works of John Michael Byrd, whose watercolor art exhibit is titled “The Poofs.”
For more information about Hogan and his work, visit his website, www.eyewander photo.com.
View samples of Aaron Hogan’s underwater photography on Eye Wander Photo’s Instagram www.instagram.com/eyewanderphoto underwater.