Christy Lee Rogers

United States 1972


Christy Lee Rogers
Christy Lee Rogers
United States
June 14, 2015

Best known for her striking underwater images, Christy Lee Rogers is a self-taught photographer hailing from Kailua, a small, beachside town in Hawaii. Growing up along the coast of the Pacific Ocean, her inspiration is anchored in her native element: water. It has been an inspiration and muse to Rogers for years, so she has developed her own characteristic and unique visual style, in which a multiplicity of entangled bodies delicately floating in an underwater world. Her work has elements similar to the great Masters of painting – the intense hues of Titian, the distorted bodies of Rubens, the chiaroscuro of Caravaggio, but also the loose brushstrokes and fluid movement of Delacroix.

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Christy Lee Rogers – A Quarter of a Million Miles, 2016


Christy Lee Rogers was born in 1972 in a family of musicians. Surrounded by creativity and talent, she was captivated with expressing herself from an early age, developing her sense of drama and love of poetry. Although she has no formal training in photography, the artist obtained her BA degree in Telecommunications and Film. While studying, Rogers became interested in photography, and all of the creative aspects came naturally for her, on an experimental basis. Through trial and error, her photographic style was constantly changing and developing, while she was discovering new things and techniques suitable for underwater images.

Through trial and error, Christy Lee Rogers discovered new techniques suitable for underwater images

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Christy Lee Rogers – Ascension, Odyssey series, 2013

The World of Underwater Photography

The water didn’t only play a dominant role in Rogers’ childhood, but it also formed the basis of her art practice. The water’s beauty and quietness captivated her, and consequently became an artistic source, and the dominant element and foundation of her art. With a help of family and friends, the artist spent eight years experimenting, testing and playing with every possible combination of elements effecting the final shot. At a local pool, with her friends as models, Christy Lee began her journey into the world of underwater photography. As a rule-breaker of conventional photography, her idea was to create interesting and captivating effects only by using physical properties of water and light, with no post-production manipulation or digital editing. Always shot during the night, the effects in her images are created naturally in-camera using the refraction of light and movement in different depths of water. The light refraction is a physical phenomenon – light bends when it passes from a substance of one density into a substance of a different density. The water, in which light travels slower than in the air, creates a higher optical density. Using this effect, and also by moving layers of the water, the artist produces dream-like illusions, intensifying the colors, and blurring and blending the portrayed subjects. The final result is a beautiful painting-like image, unique to her style.

Of Smoke and Gold underwater art video

The Style of Christy Lee Rogers’ Art Photography

As a photographer, she places a large importance on movement, drama, individual figures, light and shadow, and the sense of something greater than oneself. One of the characteristics of Rogers’ photography, apart from the dynamic movement and overt emotion, is her use of Chiaroscuro – a Renaissance-period term describing the use of strong contrasts between light and dark. Bathing in an abyss of boundless space, the light isolates the figures from the surrounding darkness. Water, as a foundation of her works, enabled her to truly express herself and create another world – detached from reality, portrayed bodies bend and float, shapes appear and disappear, colors emerge from the darkness.

She places a large importance on movement, drama and individual figures

Christy Lee Rogers - Reckless Unbound (Left) / The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (Right)
Christy Lee Rogers – Reckless Unbound (Left) / The Heart is a Lonely Hunter (Right)

Reckless Unbound, Odyssey and Other Series

Some of her most important series of works are A Quarter of a Million Miles, Celestial Bodies, Elan, Smoke and Gold, Reckless Unbound, Odyssey and Siren. In 2008, Christy Lee Rogers released her book titled Siren. Rogers was commissioned by the music label Deutsche Grammophon, and her art has been featured on an album cover for a boxed set of classical music. In 2013, her images were used for presentation of 2013–2014 performance season in the Angers-Nantes Opera in France. In addition, Christy Lee has received several important photography awards and has worked with film directors. Her work has been featured in many magazines and publications, including Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar Art China, Elle Decoration, The Independent, Global Times, Photo Korea, Photo Technique, among others.

Rogers’ photographs have been featured in many magazines and publications

Black Moon, Odyssey series 2012
Christy Lee Rogers – Black Moon, Reckless Unbound series

Extraordinary New World

Specialized in underwater photography, Christy Lee Rogers’s photos take a viewer down into an extraordinary new world of glorious colors and mysterious depths inhabited by human beings. Their bodies blend with the surrounding, completely submitted, and seductively show their most exquisite side. These alluring photos have been exhibited in numerous individual and collective exhibitions in galleries in China, Europe to Mexico and the US. Some of her recent shows were on display at LTB Art Gallery in Mexico City, Art Labor Gallery in Shanghai and Laura Rathe Fine Art in Dallas, Texas. Her prints are held in notable private and public collections across the world.

Christy Lee Rogers lives and works between Nashville, TN, and Kailua, Hawaii.

Featured image: Christy Lee Rogers – Self-Portrait, 2016
All images copyright of the artist

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2016A Quarter of a Million Miles, Foto FocusMiller Gallery, Cincinnati, OhioSolo
2016Within the Invisible SpaceLaura Rathe Fine Art, Houston, TexasSolo
2016Imminent Ascent, with Lucrecia WaggonerLaura Rathe Fine Art, Dallas, Texas Group
2016Celestial BodiesGabriel Wickbold Gallery, Sao Paulo, BrazilSolo
2015Celestial BodiesLTB Art Gallery, Mexico City, MexicoSolo
2015The Eternal AquaticArt Labor Gallery, Shanghai, ChinaSolo
2015TBABarclay’s Club, Monte Carlo, MonacoSolo
2015Christy Lee RogersGalerie d'Art du Lycée and Ten Arts Paris, FranceSolo
2015Zona Maco Foto Art FairLTB Art Gallery, Mexico City, MexicoGroup
2015Photo ShanghaiArt Labor Gallery, Shanghai, ChinaGroup
2015Double VisionLaura Rathe Fine Art. Houston, TexasGroup
2015Spring ExhibitionTen Arts, Espace Christiane Peugeot, Paris, FranceGroup
2015Group ShowLTB Art Gallery, Mexico City, MexicoGroup
2014ÉlanGraphite Galleries, New Orleans, Louisiana Solo
2014Odyssey StoriesLaura Rathe Fine Art, Dallas, TexasSolo
2014Le lyrisme des abysses - Retrospective ShowAngers Nantes Opéra House, Grand Théâtre d'Angers, Ten Arts, Angers, FranceSolo
2014ÉlanThe Outsiders Gallery, Lazarides, London, United KingdomSolo
2014BoundUnboundLaura Rathe Fine Art, Houston, TexasSolo
2014HK PhotographsAffordable Art Fair, New York, New YorkGroup
2014Artightenment Art and Film FestivalNashville, TennesseeGroup
2014Houston Fine Art FairLaura Rathe Fine Art, Houston, TexasGroup
2014Summer ExhibitionCastle Fine Art, London, United KingdomGroup
2014Group ShowPavillon S. Rothschild, Ten Arts in collaboration with Art Traffik, Paris, FranceGroup
2014Obscura Photography ShowThe Miller Gallery, Cincinnati, OhioGroup
2014Marais ExhibitionTen Arts, Paris, FranceGroup
2014Grand Opening ShowLTB Art, Mexico City, MexicoGroup
2014Dallas Art FairLaura Rathe Fine Art, Dallas, TexasGroup
2014AtmosphereThe Miller Gallery, Cincinnati, OhioGroup
2014Art 14 London Art FairThe Outsiders, London, United KingdomGroup
2014Staging and Revelation IIGaleria de Arte AFK, Lisbon, PortugalGroup
2014Anniversary ShowLaura Rathe Fine Art, Dallas, TexasGroup
2013Of Smoke and GoldGaleria de Arte AFK, Lisbon, PortugalSolo
2013Reckless UnboundAngers Nantes Opéra House, Théâtre Graslin, Ten Arts, Nantes, FranceSolo
2013Reckless UnboundGalerie Joseph, Paris, FranceSolo
2013Fotofever Art FairCarrousel Du Louve, Ten Arts, Eliane Nagata, Paris, FranceGroup
2013Fotofever Art FairTen Arts, Eliane Nagata, Brussels, BelgiumGroup
2013Staging and RevelationArt Gallery AFK, Lisbon, PortugalGroup
2013Dallas Art FairLaura Rathe Fine Art, Dallas, TexasGroup
2013MythsSanta Monica Art Studios, Los Angeles, CaliforniaGroup
2013Motion to LightSnap - Orlando Photography Festival, Orlando, FloridaGroup
2013Dallas Grand OpeningLaura Rathe Fine Art, Dallas, TexasGroup
2013Art 13 London Art FairThe Art Collector, London, United KingdomGroup
2013Group ShowGraphite Galleries, New Orleans, LouisianaGroup
2013Grand OpeningThe Christopher Hill Gallery, Sonoma Valley, CaliforniaGroup
2012Reckless UnboundA Gallery at Aesthesia Studios, Los Angeles, California Solo
2012Natives: A Group Art ShowThe Acting Center, Los Angeles, CaliforniaGroup
2012Spring into SummerSamuel Lynne Galleries, Dallas, TexasGroup
2012FotoFest 2012, Fourteenth International Biennial of PhotographyLaura Rathe Fine Art, Houston, TexasGroup
2012Contemporary Photography in Hawaii 2012: The Fourth Annual Statewide Survey ExhibitionSouth Street Gallery, Honolulu, HawaiiGroup
2011OdysseyGraphite Galleries, New Orleans Photo Alliance, New Orleans, LouisianaSolo
2011OdysseyThe McLoughlin Gallery, San Francisco, CaliforniaSolo
2011An Underwater OdysseyHonolulu Museum of Arts - Academy Arts Center at Linekona, Honolulu, HawaiiSolo
2011OdysseyBarclay's Club Monaco, Monaco, EuropeSolo
2011Downtown ArtwalkBluecanvas, Los Angeles, CaliforniaGroup
2011Jammin’ on Julia 2011New Orleans Arts District, Graphite Galleries, New Orleans, LouisianaGroup
2011Third Annual Statewide Survey Exhibition of Contemporary Photography in HawaiiSouth Street Gallery, Honolulu, HawaiiGroup
2011Mardi GrasGraphite Galleries, New Orleans, LouisianaGroup
2011MovementGraphite Galleries, New Orleans, LouisianaGroup
2011Premier VernissageBarclay's Club Monaco, Monaco, EuropeGroup
2011An International Photographic SurveyCrussell Fine Arts, Orange, CAGroup
2010PhotoNola Photography FestivalNew Orleans Photo Alliance, New Orleans, LouisianaSolo
2010SirenSouth Street Gallery, Honolulu, HawaiiSolo
2010PhotoNola Photography FestivalNew Orleans, LouisianaGroup
2010Artists for a Better World - 10th Annual Arts FestivalLos Angeles, CaliforniaGroup
201010 Year Anniversary ShowLaura Rathe Fine Art, Houston, TexasGroup
2010Contemporary Art in HawaiiSouth Street Gallery, Honolulu, HawaiiGroup
2010FotoFest 2010, Thirteenth International Biennial of PhotographyLaura Rathe Fine Art, Houston, TexasGroup
2009SirenA & I Gallery, Santa Monica, CaliforniaSolo
2009SirenA & I Gallery, Hollywood, CaliforniaSolo
2009SirenSpring Arts Galleries, Los Angeles, CaliforniaSolo
2009Christmas ShowGallery Iolani, Kaneohe, HawaiiGroup
2009Art48LAH1 Gallery, Los Angeles, CaliforniaGroup
2009Fire & LightSandstone Gallery, Laguna Beach, CaliforniaGroup
2007Give it Your Best ShotBenham Gallery, Seattle, WashingtonGroup
2007Group ShowSoho Gallery, Los Angeles, CaliforniaGroup