Whitburn photographer makes it to final of national competition with unique underwater shoots

A Whitburn photographer has made it to the final of a national competition and could win a £2,500 cash prize thanks to a unique underwater photo shoot.

Sarah Dobbs, 42, who lives in Whitburn, has been selected by ticketing and event platform Eventbrite as a finalist in its Most Curious & Colourful Events competition, beating strong entries from hundreds of organisers throughout the UK.

Sarah’s workshops, through Aria Art and Movement, have been commended not only for their creativity and inclusivity, but also for helping many people find their confidence again.

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During her shoots, Sarah has photographed people underwater dressed as clowns and angels allowing everyone to creatively explore the water and bring out their unique personalities.

Underwater photography by Sarah Dobbs

At first, Sarah created free events to build her customer base, but has now made it a full time job and charges for her uniquely different workshops where images are taken in water or on land in water.

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Having recently given up her job as a programme leader in creative writing at Sunderland University, Sarah now runs her workshops once a month.

She said: “With our shoots you can expect the unexpected and the people who attend are not necessarily who you’d think would take part. Some people haven’t been in the water before, some people have lost their confidence and are looking for their potential and some simply want to be part of a creative and freeing activity under the water.

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Underwater photography by Sarah Dobbs

"Attendees’ ages range from twenties to sixties and we get people of all body sizes, abilities and disabilities. It’s very inclusive and we have a diverse range of shoots, too, from mermaid shoots to black swan shoots. We provide an inhouse photographer, but if someone wants to come along and take pictures, we offer camera hire so they can hone their skills.

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“This has been such an exciting change of direction for me and while we keep our prices in a bracket that people can afford, it’s a career in which I can make money from doing something I really love.”

The winner of the Most Curious & Colourful Events competition will be announced in November.

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Underwater photography by Sarah Dobbs