On my journey to becoming a professional underwater photographer, I was very fortunate to attend Brooks Institute in the 1970s and to come under the tutelage of master black and white photographer, Ernest H. Brooks, II.
About the photographer
Ever since my early childhood when I first snorkeled with a dime store facemask in the chilly waters off the Massachusetts Coast, I’ve been captivated by the magical interplay of light and water. I learned to free dive and scuba dive at a young age and grew up with Lloyd Bridges’ Sea Hunt and The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau TV series. Those programs motivated the purchase of my first underwater camera when I was 14. Little did I know that some twenty years later I would work as an underwater photographer and cinematographer for the Cousteau Society, working with Jacques Cousteau and his son Jean-Michel aboard vessels Alcyone and Calypso. My Cousteau expeditions were a dream come true that intensified my ethos and pathos for the sea; it shaped my vision and heightened my concern for conservation of our marine environment. On my journey to becoming a professional underwater photographer, I was very fortunate to attend Brooks Institute in the 1970s and to come under the tutelage of master black and white photographer, Ernest H. Brooks, II. Ernie was a very generous and percipient mentor who taught us students how to really see and in a sense, to wake up. Ernie’s photographs were always much deeper than just the literal subject in front of his lens; they exemplified what Minor White espoused with regard to affective photographic subject matter, i.e., it isn’t just what it is, it’s what else it is. For my personal underwater photography, I prefer to work in black and white. By stripping away the distraction of color, I feel I can better convey the elements of light, shape, form, texture and emotions that are so prevalent in the sea. I have also strived to practice what Cornell Capa described as “concerned” photography (in his anthology, The Concerned Photographer) because an artful photograph can reach both hearts and minds. In that same spirit, it has been aptly said that “art imitates life.” I also believe that art can affect the living and help bring about change.