Everything about photography testifies to it being an extraordinary art form, and there are many ways to express such art.
About the photographer
For example, Flip Nicklen specializes in whales and dolphins, and Ernie Brooks has made a career of underwater black white photography, while Helmut Horn and Howard Schatz create elaborate fashion shoots in pools. We all have a hook, something we are passionate about, something that motivates our creative drive. I for my part am at home portraying marine life on a tropical coral reef, and I love taking photos of sharks and dolphins. But what inspires me most is to capture people’s interaction with the sea: the wide-angle view of divers on the coral reef. It all evolved naturally. I came to Key Largo, Florida in 1978 to open a small retail shop, renting UW cameras. Shortly after I received a call from a dive magazine that needed photos on the Florida Keys. I borrowed a wide angle camera and with the help of a friend who worked at a local dive shop, took some »people« pictures.
Although I had never photographed a person underwater before, those were the images that were picked. I quickly figured that this was the medium of commerce. But it went beyond crass commercialism. My graduate degree was in psychology, and it appeared that people wanted to »see« themselves in the underwater scene. Having a diver in place allows for a sense of scale relative to the other elements, and it is also the proper way to demonstrate the style and functionality of dive gear and fashion. Commercial photography is probably my favorite of all, for it allows me to interpret an art director’s vision and make it fit within the physical possibilities of underwater photography. I also like the frenetic pace of a commercial assignment. I would rather spend two days on location working like a maniac to meet a deadline than six weeks shooting an assignment for National Geographic in a remote locale. For me, »Big Picture With People« is my preferred path in the narrow niche of underwater photography.