This is not Toronto-based photographer Finn O’ Hara. This is an Underwater Hockey player. Wait– you think Underwater Hockey doesn’t exist?! Let’s ask Finn about it:
Finn! tell me about this Underwater Hockey project! How’d it come
about? Are you showing it anywhere? How do they hold their breath so
It kinda started with a conversation with friends about high school,
and the strange games that they made us play in gym class. I recalled
playing Underwater Hockey, where we spent more time humiliating and
punching one another underwater than trying to play the game. My
friends didn’t believe me, and claimed that there is no such thing as
Underwater Hockey. I set off to prove them wrong, and googled
“Underwater Hockey” to find some proof of its existence.
Much to my
surprise, it’s a huge international game, played in over 20 countries,
and very organized. I had just started research into shooting a series
on strange games, so I thought this would be a perfect subject to
cover. It even turned out that there were several clubs nearby, so I
called them up to see if I could photograph their games and
tournaments, and they readily agreed.
I’m not showing it anywhere at the moment, but I would like to find a
gallery or publisher that would be interested in exhibiting or
publishing the strange games series. As for holding their breath,
they’re extremely talented swimmers, and with the use of a snorkel and
fins, they can really cover a lot of pool. It’s a tough sport too,
hence the armored glove, head protection, and mouth guards. I’ve seen a
few nasty cuts and heated arguments while shooting.
Finn! Tell me about the Mountain Dew assignment– what was the concept for the shoot? Did you find it
personally fulfilling– did it mirror your own work in any way? What was
the final response?
The Mountain Dew work is portraits of the characters from a commercial
film shoot I worked on in the Spring. The Director of the shoot is a
friend, Chris Hutsul,
and they needed stills that were to be used in collaboration with the
The characters were formed around a campaign that never actually
launched, unfortunately (I added the retro Mountain Dew logo to
identify the work on my site). It was a total drag that the campaign
got canned. As you can see, the wardrobes were hysterical, and the
casting was done mostly through craigslist,
which added a huge layer of authenticity. And yes, it was fulfilling,
for sure. It fit in with some of the creatives that I’m working on now.
studying English Literature at Bishop’s University in Quebec, I moved
to Toronto where I eventually made the transition back to photography.
At that time, I assisted many international and local photographers,
and they contributed greatly to my understanding of the photographic
my clients include Nike, The Guardian Weekend Magazine, New Scientist,
British Airways, Wallpaper, The Walrus and Wired. I am based in
Toronto, Canada, and London, England, and currently working on personal
projects based on reconstructing life changing events, and capturing
the decisions made just before they happen, as well as a series on
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