By SnapSquad - May 07, 2019

Underwater photography. It sounds wonderful and beautiful, but really what do you expect it to be? Breath-taking pictures of marine life, coral gardens, fishes with amazing looks and colours, perhaps mammals, an encounter with dolphins or even a whale? You are definitely right on the spot. In fact, there can be so much more to it: seas and oceans on our planet reach most regions on Earth from the equator line to either pole where they freeze. Most of us, perhaps, will have wondered, imagined, dreamed of what world and wonders lay beneath the ocean’s waves but only a few have taken up the challenge to dive with a camera to bring back to us glimpses of beauty and knowledge from under the sea.

I have tracked for you a few underwater photographers to find out what drives them and I found out how sharing the same passion for the marine world led them to different specialities.

Near the Coast

Toru Kasuya

Concern for our planet and a passion for diving do not have to take you far into the ocean, requiring lots of time and emptying your savings. Toru Kasuya from Japan, found this out while on a seaside holiday as he was enjoying his newly acquired diving license. That’s when the motor car engineer first discovered a new meaning to his life and what would become his full-time profession.

“Photographing the marvels of marine life near residential areas” has become his speciality. Toru says he always takes a beach entry into the water and always near populated areas where he finds an incredible diversity of marine life with a thriving eco-system.

Toru’s photography takes him to an amazing underwater world but, back on the beach, he gets to experience another kind of excitement, that of sharing his pictorial bounty with fishermen and people.

Toru Kasuya’s latest win was the Grand Prize in the 6th Nikkei National Geographic photography award. You can visit his website here. In his portfolio, I was particularly touched by his Jewelry Box of the Sea.

Whales & Marine Life & Photograph Some Of The Most Elusive 

Brian Skerry     
Here is a man recognized as one of the top ocean photographers of the world. Brian Skerry from Massachusetts is a photojournalist and a National Geographic Magazine Fellow. His stories cover a wide range of topics related to marine wildlife and environment; dolphin intelligence and predatory sharks are but two of them.

Brian’s awards (he has received many of them!) include the Rolex National Geographic Explorer of the Year.

As if Brian did not have enough adventure in his life, he was also invited to take pictures of President Obama during a snorkelling trip; and that’s how he was the first to produce pictures of a US president underwater! You can watch this exciting moment on YouTube 

Brian’s website: brianskerry.com 

Sunken Cities – Archaeology

Antonio Busiello

The relationship between man and the natural world is what Italian photographer Antonio Busiello likes to focus on and what drives him to use his talent and turn it into story-telling photography.
Antonio has travelled the world widely on assignments with his camera, ironically one of his most unique experiences happened in his native country, Italy where he was asked to take pictures of an ancient sunken city.

Baia, off the coast of the Gulf of Naples, used to be a thriving seaside resort famous for its hot springs and visited by the likes of Nero, Cicero and Cesar! After the water level rose due to volcanic vents (hence the hot springs) the city slowly drowned. Ancient ruins can now be found under the shallow waters of the bay and can only be accessed with diving gear.

Here is what Antonio had to say about his diving experience:

  “Diving here is like a dive into history, looking at ancient Roman ruins underwater is something hard to describe, a beautiful experience indeed.” 

Antonio Busiello’s website: antoniobusiello.com

Underwater Portraiture, Mermaids! But with a purpose

Chiara Salomoni 

Born in Italy, Chiara has always felt a fascination for the sea. She studies photography in California and later specialised in underwater wildlife. She is the co-founder of Project Mermaids and Mermaids for Change, both projects supporting and donating to coastal and ocean conservation.
Chiara’s art is something very unique and tale-telling. Her fashion photography studio is underwater. “Given the love and joy I felt working in the water, coming from a fine art background, in-water photography felt just right.” 

With Mermaids for Change Chiara wants to turn the legendary beings into “advocates of change and an example for the new generations.”

Chiara Salomoni’s website: chiarasalomoni.com

Polar Diving

Paul Nicklen

Diving expeditions under the ice do not come without risks: frigid water for one, large predators…. A fascinating world for Canadian conservation photographer and film-maker Paul Nicklen who has been diving in the Arctic and the Antarctic for over twenty years. A marine biologist by training, Paul’s recordings of wildlife in those seldom explored underwater regions are not only artistic and exciting pictures of a natural world on our planet most of us will never dream to see for ourselves, but too, precious scientific documentation.

Diving in an environment hostile to human life means that Paul Nicklen has to be able to face his fears on every expedition. While he wants to get as close as possible to his live subject, he confides that he never acts without respect for the animals he wants to catch with his camera.

Lately, social media has brought us many sad pictures of starving polar bears and reports of some of them terrifying people in Arctic villages. Here is what Paul has to say about polar bears:

"I've never had a scary moment with a polar bear, and people come to me like, 'Isn't that the only animal that actively pursues humans for food?' And I just see this powerful, but very fragile, vulnerable species that is so at the mercy of its ecosystem. And it's sort of the one species that I really use to drive home that connection to how important this icy ecosystem is. I want people to realize that ice is like the soil in the garden — without ice, the polar regions cannot exist"

Paul Nicklen founded his own conservation society, SeaLegacy. His website is paulnicklen.com . I recommend you to watch and listen to his “Motion” pictures.

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