When Scotch whisky brand Ballantine’s invited renowned photographer Benjamin Von Wong to participate in its ‘Stay True’ campaign, the photographer wasted no time in turning his dream of creating an image 30 meters underwater into a reality.
Ballantine’s campaign aims to push creative pioneers to the limit and gave him free reign, saying, “We love what you do and want to support you as part of our Stay True campaign. Is there anything you’d like to do that you’ve never done before?”
Von Wong seized this golden opportunity and set his sights to up the ante in his underwater photography.
Together with a top notch team comprising a professional commercial diver, an expert free diving model, several safety divers and film crew, Von Wong set out to “recreate the iconic scene of a young Chinese cormorant fisherman[,] hard at work on a bamboo raft–shot 30 meters underwater[,] in a cenote just above a toxic layer of hydrogen sulphide.”
Von Wong explained this idea on his website, “Traditional culture as a whole, is something that is inexorably fading with time. I wanted to create a piece that would immortalize a piece of my own culture–the iconic cormorant fisherman. By placing him directly above an underwater river, within this portal that was believed to lead to the [M]ayan underworld, seemed like the perfect way to bid farewell to a proud tradition.”
Watch the campaign video for this photoshoot, as well as behind-the-scenes footage to learn how it was executed, below.
Other projects by Von Wong which we featured previously include his ‘Ordinary People Transformed’ series–regular people morphed into superheroes perched atop skyscrapers–and his photoshoot where office employees were transformed into fitness models with smart use of lighting.
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