Experience not withstanding, it has always been difficult to describe my underwater photography style, or my mindset whilst shooting subjects beneath the surface of the water.
About the photographer
I’m deeply embarrassed to admit that I’m often not thinking about much at all while underwater except for »…wow, how cool is that!« or »a breath of air would be useful but I’m twenty meters down!«. Generally, my mind focuses on the tasks at hand, keeping myself alive whilst finding appropriate subjects that accurately depict either the locale’s unique properties or the bizarre beauty of marine life.
Though educated as a biologist, I no longer work in academia, preferring the challenges of providing visual insights into the unique characters and characteristics of the sea. Being deep below the surface, free-diving and watching the chaotic world of a vibrant reef or the power of a shark is almost hypnotizing. Free-diving allows for an unsurpassed freedom although there is certainly effort involved. The sport can open windows into the marine realm seldom accessible when using scuba equipment. Free-diving with mantas is a prime example of this.
Armed with just a pair of fins and mask, it seems that mantas are much more inquisitive, playfully swooping and rolling right next to me. For me, to be in the water anywhere in the world, but especially in the Indo-West Pacific, where marine biodiversity is at its zenith, is truly enlightening. Like many professional marine photographers, my hope is to inspire and motivate others with timeless pictures that tell stories. There is a need for people to know more about the world they exist in, the interconnectedness of ecosystems, and the creatures that have evolved to fit particular niches. The more people know, the more they will care.
Although not conducting research anymore, keeping abreast of recent scientific endeavors is vital to my work of passing knowledge along to the public as well as the decision-makers, that are constantly challenged to put effective management techniques in place for complex ecosystems.