On the Cover – May/June 18

Des Moines photographer Ben Easter, a lifelong swimmer, saw a fun opportunity to photograph soprano Sara Gartland (pictured), who this summer will portray a water nymph in Des Moines Metro Opera’s production of “Rusalka.”

“I really wanted to shoot under water, but it presented a few obstacles,” Ben says. A few? Where? How? And how would Gartland feel about Ben’s idea?

The answers: The pool at Valley High School and shooting through an underwater window. And Gartland was totally on board with being cast overboard. “She’s such a professional and I was so impressed by her dedication,” Ben says. “I’m really grateful to her.”

A tarp was drawn across the far side of the pool, lighting was adjusted, and Ben had assistants in and around the pool, all under the watchful eye of Michael Egel, the opera’s general and artistic director. The background environment, created from photos of a room in France, was digitally added later.



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