Oscar Winners Star in Art Made for the Nature Cons...

Oscar Winners Star in Art Made for the Nature Conservancy to Save Our Oceans

Christy Lee Rogers is an American artist who works in the medium of underwater photography, breaking its usual conventions by shooting from above the water – the distortion of the surface producing a painterly effect of her subjects who are in the water, which has led to her photographic works being compared to paintings from the 15th Century. Christy beat 224,000 entries to win the Sony World Open Photography Award, which led to commissions from Apple and for the cover of the Lavazza calendar and most recently from multi-Oscar winning director James Cameron. Cameron commissioned her to shoot the stars of Avatar: The Way of Water: Zoe Saldaña, Sigourney Weaver and Kate Winslet, to raise money for The Nature Conservancy’s mission to clean the oceans.

James Cameron, who is known not only as the director of three of the five highest grossing films of all time, but also for his love of deep-sea adventuring (he was the first man to ever travel 10,908 meters down in the Pacific), science (he invented a camera lens used on Mars by NASA) and for his environmental conservation work. James’ wife, Suzy Cameron, owns a school in California, where they serve a fully plant-based diet and teach the children based on their specific interests. The school is called Muses, which is the title of a series that Christy was working on at the time James heard of her work, and the first artwork he bought from Christy was from her Muses series as a gift for Suzy.

After collecting her art and speaking on the phone, Christy and her agent, London based art dealer Fraser Scott, who had first introduced her to Cameron, suggested to him that Christy shoot the stars of Avatar to raise money for ocean conservation. Fraser offered using a promotional system that he had previously used with bands like Coldplay and The Backstreet Boys, selling their album art for children’s charities. James Cameron immediately agreed to the idea and connected Christy and Fraser to Jon Landau, the Oscar winning producer of Titanic and Avatar, who in turn connected them with the teams at Disney to arrange the shoot.

Disney flew Christy and Fraser to England where producers Alex Lake and Matt Brown Films helped Christy shoot Oscar winner Kate Winslet. Next, they went to LA where TXL Films facilitated the shoot with Sigourney Weaver and Zoe Saldana at the famous Biltmore Hotel. Incidentally, The Biltmore was the hotel for many of iconic Ghostbusters scenes starring Sigourney Weaver.

Christy prepared for the shoot for months, discussing the concept with James Cameron, who gave her creative freedom. Then she worked on designing and commissioning the costumes, the lighting, and the plan for the feel of the shoot. While the actresses had many months of underwater training and practice while shooting Avatar: The Way of Water, Christy still had to brief and train them on her very special method, which involves lying or dancing flat at the bottom of the pool. Disney also flew in Kirk Krack for the shoot. Krack is the diving specialist who trained the actresses for Avatar and who was responsible for Kate Winslet famously holding her breath underwater for over 7 minutes and fifteen seconds, beating Tom Cruise’s previous record in Mission Impossible.

After the superstar training concluded, Christy photographed each of them underwater for around 3 – 4 hours, playing soothing, Avatar themed music and directing them via an underwater speaker. She had a team of people who she guided to shine spotlights in ever changing motions on the stars, alternating from lighting their faces to their bodies. Another team floated in fabrics towards the actresses and Kirk helped them maintain their breathing and ability to stay close to the pool’s floor. Christy’s communication to the actresses was along the lines of the feeling of the shoot – peaceful, serenity and then action and dance. It was like an underwater ballet, with each award-winning actress taking to it effortlessly and with their own deeply artistic expression. Zoe Saldaña is a highly trained dancer, and it was her acrobatic ability and natural dance acumen that helped her land the first Avatar role and shine in the performances.

After the shoot was complete, Christy spent months doing post-production, while Fraser Scott was introduced by Jon Landau and the teams at Disney to the executives at The Nature Conservancy, the charity selected in tandem with Disney for their philanthropic efforts. The reason for selecting The Nature Conservancy and their major project – Keep Our Oceans Amazing – was because of their work and goal to clean the oceans. TNC’s goal is to conserve 10% (9.9 billion acres) of the world’s ocean by 2030, and specifically Avatar and Disney’s goal with TNC is to protect 10 of our ocean’s amazing animals and their habitats, connected to the beauty of Pandora.

Fraser worked out a plan with TNC, based on his work with Coldplay and Backstreet Boys, where a limited edition of each of Christy’s artworks, which James Cameron titled The Muses of Avatar, would be sold with 100% of net proceeds going to the efforts to clean the ocean. Disney paid for the shoot and generously did not ask for any of those costs to be paid back, meaning that apart from costs like printing or administrative costs, every penny spent will go to The Nature Conservancy. The artworks were created as limited editions of 10 on acrylic at 58.5 x 72 Inches (149 x 183 cm), in various editions and sizes as museum quality prints, and finally, so they are available to all Avatar fans, as art-posters at 13 x 16 Inches (33 x 41 cm).

James Cameron said: “I have long admired Christy’s art and began collecting her works several years ago. Her unique style of shooting her subjects underwater naturally inspired me to suggest she do a special shoot with our cast.”

Jon Landau said: “Offering these unique pieces of art to benefit The Nature Conservancy through the Avatar: The Way of Water’s Keep Our Oceans Amazing campaign is a perfect synergy, and we were excited to collaborate with Christy,”

Christy Lee Rogers said: “Water is healing – it’s life itself. And as the provider of life – oxygen to all through tiny phytoplankton, our oceans need our care more than ever right now. It is a great honor to be able to help James Cameron, Jon Landau, and the Avatar and Disney teams in realizing that dream of clean and protected world oceans – through the release of these images for The Nature Conservancy.”

Melissa Garvey, Global Director of Ocean Protection at The Nature Conservancy said: “Healthy oceans are vital to the health of the planet and all living things, including people. Oceans are 90% of the habitable planet and home to more than half of all life on earth; they provide livelihoods for billions of people, producing the food we eat and half the air we breathe. Through the work of Christy Lee Rogers and the support of Disney and Avatar, we can shape a brighter future where people and nature can thrive—ensuring healthier oceans for all.”


The Muses of Avatar artworks were launched on March the 8th, International Women’s Day, and available to purchase via and can be seen at

Learn more about Avatar: The Way of Water’s Keep Our Oceans Amazing campaign at

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