Asia was born and raised on Oahu. She picked up her first disposable film camera at the age of 8, graduated to a point-and-shoot digital camera that was handed down by an aunt, and has never stopped shooting since. As she incorporates water elements into her work with different brands and private clients, she continues to blur the line between commercial photography and fine art. Her constant pursuit is to create images that draw people in and introduce them to the world below the surface that not everyone is able to see. She graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in visual arts from Taylor University in Upland, Indiana. Her company, OpenWater Productions, features her commercial photography.
It’s a place away from all of the noise, where you don’t have to use words, time doesn’t seem to exist, and you can share space with wild animals. Being underwater forces me to be present in the moment, which is a much-needed break from the busyness of life.
I first got into freediving when I returned home from college, and it’s kind of a funny story. One of my friends knew I was a photographer and asked if I would be interested in underwater photography. He had a job photographing off a boat, but was moving away, so he needed to find someone to replace himself. I loved surfing and playing in the ocean, but had zero experience with freediving. The first time we met after that conversation, he handed me an underwater camera and told me to photograph a turtle maybe 15 to 20 feet down. I realized at that moment I didn’t know how to get down. After a bit of practice everything fell into place, and I fell in love with swimming below the surface, with or without a camera.
I’ve been blessed with some amazing parents. Both of them have encouraged me to push myself out of my comfort zone in different arenas. As a kid and teenager, I thought it was annoying, but it’s something I’m so very grateful for now.
I love spending time in the water doing other activities as well, like surfing and dodging waves in the shore break. When time allows, I enjoy reading, drawing and trying new cooking recipes. Life is so short and I never want to stop learning and trying new things. And I think it goes without saying, I love spending quality time with family and friends.
When I was asked to be a Cressi Ambassador, I didn’t even hesitate to say yes. It’s a tried-and-true company that’s been around for over 70 years, with an international reputation of excellence. It’s been such a privilege to be a part of the Cressi family.