Aldara Ortega uses photography to capture instantaneous moments of motion. Her vivid, color-saturated images express freedom and calm simultaneously, focusing on the movement of the human form as it interacts with an underwater environment. A self-taught photographer and mixed media artist, Ortega merges her own reflective experiences with those of her subjects, creating stunningly harmonious and light-filled works.
Ortega first explored the effects of underwater photography after moving to New York in 2009. Finding escape from urban life in the depths of pools, Ortega began examining the aesthetic patterns of light refracting in water and off of the human body. She began cultivating her technical skills in both photography and post-production, building off of her background in painting to achieve maximum color and shadow effects.
Her photographs communicate the transformational experience of being submerged in water, achieving an almost meditative state for subject and viewer alike. There is an inherent energy and joy borne of the natural characteristics of water that is only enhanced by the extension of arms, textiles, and shadows that Ortega is able to capture.
In addition to her underwater portrait series, Agua Viva, Ortega also examines the characteristics of water. Her series, Liquid Desert, examines the refractions of light that create submerged desert landscapes. Additional series, such as Refractions and Reflections, encapsulate Ortega’s desire for reflection: whether through the literal image, or through a mental mindset that is manifest in shadow.
Ortega was born in Madrid, Spain, and attended Fashion Design Superior Center to attain a degree in fashion design. She has had solo and group exhibitions all over the world, including in New York, California, the United Arab Emirates, and Shanghai. Her work is collected in both public and private collections in New York and internationally.
The main focus of my art has been to express the beauty of unfettered freedom and joy that I experience while being in water. Through my artwork, I aim to give a visual form to this magical light-infused world where muted sound, a sense of weightlessness, and mesmerizing light, take me to an energized meditative state.
I seek to capture the patterns of light as they are projected onto the body and the environment, the refractions taking a life of their own to create a dance between light and a woman’s body.