Born and raised in Tokyo, Japan, Erena Shimoda always had an affinity with the underwater world even though she grew up in the city. One of her favorite childhood memories includes floating in a small inflatable pool, daydreaming about mermaids and singing a children’s song:
The ocean is wide, the ocean is huge…
It’s no surprise, then, that Erena immediately became addicted to scuba diving after a trip to the Honduras Bay islands Utila and Roatan. She received her Divemaster certificate in Venezuela in 2005 and began shooting underwater photographs in Thailand, Bonaire, Corsica, Cozumel, Cancun and Hawaii. Today, she specializes in underwater portrait photography and uses her background in New Media and Fine Art to create unique compositions in different media.
She pioneered her underwater transformative therapy practice after surviving a traumatic car accident in which she lost her father and severely injured her body. As a part of her healing process, she volunteered at the
American Cancer Society’s the Look Good Feel Better program.
Seeing cancer survivors marvel at lovely photographs of themselves again made such an impact on Shimoda that she decided to combine her interest in underwater photography with recovery—namely, to help cancer survivors experience the transformative effects of being submerged in water and feel beautiful about themselves when they see the resulting portraits.
One of the most impactful projects that She’ve spearheaded is running a fundraising campaign to help cancer survivors rediscover their beauty through underwater water portrait photography in July 2013.
The campaign ended successfully, and she met 13 survivors at the end of 2013.
She then self-published a book, exhibited portraits in a gallery in Tokyo, and presented my work at a Genentech Medical Conference. She was also featured in various online media sites like USA Today, CBS News, The Huffington Post and NBC News.
She is also one of the visual healers on Helpsy
Introducing Helpsy – a solution for cancer patients to assist them in finding the best solution for their health needs. Still in beta mode, Helpsy is part of UCSF’s Lean Launchpad program and Stanford’s Entrepreneurship Program.
She started reaching out to other survivors including domestic violence survivors, people with PTSD, physical disabilities and aquaphobias. Her goal is to reach out to people all over the world and share her passion and the transformative properties of being underwater as well as the beauty and joy it can bring.
She believes in the power of water and the power of the creative process to transform body and mind.
She would love your help in donations or sign up for the portrait session continuing to spread the word to help her increase the number of survivors that can take part in her project. With your help, we can make a difference in their continuous transformative process.
Sponsor a survivor/fighters or anyone who endured a traumatic life experience so that they can experience a life-changing, underwater transformative photography session without financial obligation.
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