An Invitation to the Underwater Circus

Photographer Mick Gleissner recalls memories from a circus ring in his recent underwater photo shoot, which finds his model beneath the waves while decadently clad in a red satin top over the more expected swimsuit. The look is completed with long black boots with stiletto heels and a black whip fit for lion taming. The combination of classic ring attire with nautical elements on the shoulders and cuffs alludes to a beautifully surreal sea world.

While the shoot may have been set underwater, the bright stage and background allow one to forget the unconventional setting, conveying nothing less than a true sense of a subsea circus.

Gleissner has observed that few models can endure an underwater shoot, as it requires the ability to hold one’s breath for extended periods—and moreover, to look calm while doing so. Gleissner calls these special models “mermaids”—and as his model coolly twirls her whip, it’s easy to imagine that she can indeed breathe beneath the surface of the sea.

Gleissner turned his passion for scuba diving and photography into underwater shoots after a model friend asked him to shoot her fifteen years ago. This new perspective on fashion and form opens up possibilities for fashion shoots as a whole, with the full-immersion setting allowing for stances and forms impossible on dry land.

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