OK magazine - Italy
The article is about the new trend of water babies in Italy.
You will now find mothers and fathers with their babies in many swimming pools. Swimming courses for babies are increasing and the babies are not the only ones who benefit. The babies learn to swim before walking.
As you can see in these extraordinary pictures the babies move naturally, swimming with their eyes open, smiling and not taking in water. Under water they are calm, the water reminds them of the protection provided by the amniotic fluid whilst the baby grows within the womb.
It is also a journey back in time to our origins which some say began in the sea. Water is a natural element of our bodies composed of 70% water. Why are new borns and young babies able to swim without drowning? Nicola Principa (manager of the Pediatric Clinic of the University of Milano) explains "For them it is like being back in the womb and rediscover the instinctive movements they made for 9 months."
Their natural instincts make them close the trachea, thereby not allowing any water to enter the lungs. This instinct is present only in the first few months of life, after which time, acclimatization is very difficult.
The babies contact with water develops early sensory perception and absorbs all the new stimulus, light and amplifi ed sound. Also the cardiac and muscular systems are strengthened.
Principi says "The effort that the baby has to exert against the pressure of the water makes the baby very tired, he will be hungry and sleep longer."
Although it is unusual that babies learn to swim before walking - when they are put into the water up to the age of one, they can make acrobatic movements.
The babies cay stay in the swimming pool for only 30 minutes, always close to the mother and with an instructor. The water must be 32-33 degrees.
Pay attention to the changing rooms - they should be organized with cubicles and there must be the possibility to breast-feed after the lesson. The only precaution is to dry the baby very well and to wait a while before going outside.
Nov 2007 / Text ©Emanuela Dini / Water Baby ©Christine Hanscomb
IMAGE magazine - London
"It is a completely different world underwater - strange, silent and hypnotic. Like being inside an enormous light box with rays coming through the surface, the underside like a mirror, but at the same time, never still. It is a place that has always held an attraction."
In recent years the trend for underwater photography has accelerated - perhaps in search of the new and undiscovered.
Millions of people have access t clever and technikcally advanced camereas, compared to the early days of Jacques Cousteau and acclaimed National Geographic photographer Luis Morden. The increase in travel and diving opportunities has also opened up photographers' eyes to a different aperture.
In the early days dedicated photographers, such as Bates Littlehales, paved the way by designing new equipment such as underwater housing with a dome, to correct for distortion for 35mm Nikons, which enabled photographers to go really close to their subjects.
We are exposed through television to amazing images such as David Attenborough's films on Planet Earth and Blue Plaanet. The film crews were able to record like never before imagined or captured with thanks to the incredible lenses and equipment at their disposal. Another notable underwater photographer is David Doubilet, who for over 40 years has been capturing the most breathtaking images underwater, starting with quite primitive equipment and now benefiting from new technology.
Whatever on may feel about Leni Reifenstal's overall activities, I was again inspired by her after seeing a documentary of her film making under the ocean. She qualified as a diver in her 70's (she lied about her age) and went on to be an acclaimed underwater photographer and film maker, working until she was almost 100. One cannot help admire her energy and stamina to make new images when others are already well into retirement. In the world of advertising, new and different images are always in demand and fashion is one obvious category to be explored underwater for both the fluidity of shape and the movement of light. I consider myself a relative newcomer to underwater and as such have all the excitement and enthusiasm of someone wanting to explore a new world.
Oct 2007 / Text ©Christine Hanscomb / Water Babies ©Christine Hanscomb