Pamela Crimmins makes painterly photographs shooting up through the surface of water. The water acts as a shifting, multi-lobed, liquid lens, distorting the appearance of people, architecture and landscapes outside the water. Her work explores and exploits the properties of water, including its surface tension and its ability to reflect and to refract light, separating the color spectrum into its components.Working in pools, ponds, lakes and the sea, she considers the effects that wind, swells, salt, organic matter, and time of day will have on her subjects. By controlling her relative depth and distance from her subject, and agitating the surface of the water with her flippers and hands, her body becomes a human paintbrush that actively affects the image.
Pamela Crimmins was born in New York City and raised on Long Island Sound in Connecticut. Her large extended family has long been equally divided between fishermen and sailors, each faction believing it demonstrates the proper relationship to the water. Unable to pick a side in this ongoing battle, she called a personal truce and took up swimming and diving instead.
She studied painting and photography as an undergraduate at Yale. After graduation, she served as an intern photographer at the American Embassy in Rabat, Morocco. She began taking pictures underwater in 1996 while teaching her children how to swim. This led to the birth of Splash Photography, her underwater portrait business.
Pamela taught art in NYC public schools and other venues for 25 years and has a Master’s in Art Education from Brooklyn College. She lives in Manhattan without her two adult children.
She does not have a pool.