Immersed in a world of peace and serenity as she spends most of her time floating underwater, Raghda Ezzeldin has made a profession out of her love for the open waters. A record-breaking freediver, Ezzeldin claims to have been doing it since she was a child – when she would spend her summers on the North Coast’s sandy beaches, kissed by the Mediterranean sun.
“Free diving is such a natural activity, most kids love playing underwater… holding their breath and seeing who stays longer, swimming underwater from one pool edge to the other,” explains Ezzeldin, “I found out that I could practice the sport professionally four years ago, and it was the best discovery of my life!”
Ever since taking freediving on professionally, Ezzeldin set an Egyptian national record back in 2017 with a 5.03 minute breath hold. Her passion for the sport has blossomed into her co-founding Blue Odysea, a place where she and her business partner Ahmed Soliman aim to “help more people reconnect to the water, whether through deep diving, underwater dancing, water relaxation and reflexology or simple play and underwater games,” says Ezzeldin.
“Ancient Egyptians believed that water compensated for the freedom that the soul loses in its bodily form,” commented Ezzeldin, “it takes us back to a state of fluidity and flow where we are freed from the rigid solidity of our existence on land.”
As she talks about what she enjoys most about freediving, Ezzeldin reiterates the meditative state the water puts her in, as well as the fact that it feels like flying to her and pushes her to move her body without the gravitational restrictions one would find on land.
Through these breathtaking underwater shoots, Ezzeldin manages to transport us to her perfectly serene world. She does most of her freediving in the Red Sea, which is internationally known to be both a diving as well as free diving hub.
“I appreciate art very much and feel it can convey deep emotions which words fail to do,” says Ezzeldin, “these shoots allow me to communicate the state I immerse into when I’m underwater.”
The following photos were taken on two different occasions with two different artists, both of whom are fellow freedivers. With mutual passion amongst all three water lovers, photographer Taimour Osman and videographer Roberto D’Ugo Pardi managed to capture these wonderfully cinematic shots that seem almost otherworldly.