The popularity of underwater photography is rising by the day around the world and even here in India. Photo shoots of a bride and groom, women showing off their baby bumps under water, underwater portraits of models and pets – underwater photography is not only about shooting marine life.
While the works of David Doubilet, Ellen Kallis, Jenna Martin, and Christian Vizl, to name a few, have earned the ‘best underwater photographs in the world’ title, here is our pick of talented Indian photographers for whom underwater photography is fun, addictive, and challenging. Scroll down to read all about them.
1. Sumer Verma
Specialisation: Wildlife and fashion
Equipment: Canon 5D Mark II
A self-taught photographer who learnt photography through various books and experience, Sumer Verma started diving with Lacadives (a scuba diving operator in the country that offers diving courses in Lakshadweep and the Andaman Islands) in 1997, in Lakshadweep.
“The moment I discovered diving, I knew that was what I wanted to do in life. When I am underwater, I feel relaxed,” says Verma.
“In order to master underwater photography you need time in the water to learn and control your body, understand marine life behaviour and anticipate it. And for that, one needs time and money to learn and pursue diving. There are a lot of students who come to me to learn underwater photography in Lakshadweep,” he says. He shoots marine life in the ocean in Maldives, Andamans, and Indonesia. However, if he is shooting with models, he uses swimming pools or tanks.
“Even after more than 5,000 dives, the marine world still fascinates me,” shares the Mumbai-based photographer, who has freelanced with magazines such as National Geographic, Better Photography and The Indian Quarterly.
Favourite photograph: Hammerhead sharks in the Galapagos Islands.
“It is my favourite because, as a kid, it was my dream to see these sharks,” he says.
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2. Umeed Mistry
Equipment: Nikon D300, D800, 5D mark II
At the age of 10, on a small island in Maldives, while visiting with his family, Mistry took up the introductory diving course that the resort was offering. He dived into the lagoon (his first dive), and 11 metres beneath the surface of the water, he realised that that was where he wanted to be more than anywhere else.
“I felt a sense of awe and euphoria the moment I learnt to dive,” says the Bangalorean. He ventured into this field as dive instructor in Bangaram, Lakshadweep, and in 2005, he started shooting underwater, when he realised that he needed to document the underwater world. With no fomal training in photography, he learnt most things by referring to books and learning from tutorials.
Talking about shifting from still images to moving images, Mistry says, “I have started working on projects that will emerge into documentaries.” “I was fortunate to have a space for myself in Bangaram, where I could experiment,” he quips.
Mistry suggests Lakshadweep and Andamans as the best locations to shoot underwater “as the water here is crystal-clear, and you get the best visibility”.
Favourite Photograph: Whales and dolphins shot in Sri Lanka.
“I have been in this field for 20 years now, but it was after a long time that I came across these amazing creatures,” he says.
Details: umeedmistry.com, email@example.com