Renowned fashion model, photographer, and environmental Amber Arbucci captures photographs of animals in environments of all descriptions, a subject close to her heart. Her most recent, daring portrait series, “The Girl at Jellyfish Lake,” features herself in the nude, exposing her bare flesh to jellyfish on the Pacific island of Palau.
Each of Arbucci’s enigmatic portraits captures her in a moment, suspended in water as her body twists through a number of live, golden jellyfish. In one, Life of the Amoral (2013), Arbucci’s bare face presses against a floating jellyfish, eyes closed, almost kissing the creature, her hair splayed behind her. Another, Fluctuating Charm (2013), shows several jellyfish passing gracefully over her body as she appears to fall through the water. Each portrait depicts Arbucci at ease, unafraid. One has the sense of stealing a glimpse into the artist’s own private fairy tale; the golden jellyfish seem to be under her spell as they swarm around her body.
While shooting photos of herself amidst all these jellyfish, Arbucci was stung repeatedly. “I was by myself, no assistance whatsoever for hours in the water,” she told The Wall Street Journal. “I was so stung my eyes were swollen and I could barely walk.” But death doesn’t scare her; this is exactly how she wants it. “I am not interested in just taking a ‘good picture,’” says Arbucci of her work. “I want my photographs to draw people into the worlds I’ve visited, to join me on my journeys.”