Hugh Arnold was born in Chester, England and trained as an actor before being enticed into the world of photography by the light and natural outdoor elements of Australia. After being offered a contract by Australian Vogue, he returned to Europe, doing his first job exclusively with Armani for Per Lui and Lei with Franca Sozzani in Milan. More pages followed, which was the ticket to open doors worldwide. He met Hamish Bowles at the collections in Paris who asked him to shoot Carla Bruni for Harpers and Queen, subsequently working for various magazines such as Vogue, Tatler, Conde Nast Traveller, Glamour, etc. Soon after, he started shooting worldwide beauty campaigns for L'Oreal, Pantene, Wella, Max Factor, Nivea, and La Perla.
Hugh's exploration of photography as an art form has allowed him to develop creatively without commercial constraint, photographing "Underwater Nudes." He learned to scuba dive in Egypt, equipped himself with the best quality equipment, and flew to Australia to pursue his mission. Cold Antarctic currents, poor visibility, box jellyfish, and sharks all conspired to push him further afield to Fiji where he shot until storms made diving impossible. Lured by the Tuna rearing pens in Gozo, an island off the coast of Malta, he continued his mission with supermodels Nika Lauriatis and Polina Barbasova.
“Agua Nacida,” meaning “water born” in Spanish, is a unique collection of large-scale underwater nudes by renowned fashion and beauty photographer Hugh Arnold. Amidst the unspoiled depths of the seas surrounding the islands of Fiji and Gozo, Arnold was inspired in part by the human life cycle. “Agua Nacida” explores the beauty of the human form and a symbolic transition from womb to womanhood, taking us on a parallel journey beneath the surface of the sea and our soul’s hidden waters. Immersed in the playfulness and sensuality of water, the swimmers express the cycles of Woman through fluidity of movement: the womb's embrace, growth, discovery, sexuality, and of course, beauty. Arnold's work provokes and invokes. It arouses reflection and understanding of man's connection to a greater and larger world.
In addition to the large-scale photographs, Hugh Arnold has compiled his work into a breathtaking 368-page book, which takes us on a journey to explore the ocean and ourselves in a new way. The book contains a collection of over 175 stunning, original colour photographs, as well as texts by Stella Thomas, Founder and President of the Global Water Fund and Anne Morrow Lindbergh, author of the acclaimed Gift from the Sea.
In an interview with HUNGER TV in London, Arnold stated, "I wanted Agua Nacida to span the symbolic transition from the cocoon of the womb, to carefree childhood, the discovery of adolescence, the sensuality of womanhood and the pain of birth, depicting each stage in the process through physical actions. I realized that I was touching something much more profound than I set out to do because everything that I had done up to this point professionally had included artifice and ego in some form or other. The moment you submerge yourself in water, no matter who you are, the ego disappears and you touch the true essence of your nature. It’s almost like going back to the beginning, being reborn, hence the title of the book – Agua Nacida ie. water born. The images take us on a parallel journey beneath the surface of the sea. Our souls’ hidden waters come from a powerful, pure and deep place that I am only now starting to understand. We are all water born...."
Hugh has devoted two years exclusively to this project. Today, he lives in France with his wife Celina and their four children: Paloma, Sienna, Oliver and Cosmo.