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The Best Underwater Photographers Of The World [sic]


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#1 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 14 January 2010 - 07:29 AM

Photographer Magazine (the Ukraine Edition) published at the end of 2009 a special edition of their magazine entirely devoted to showcasing some of the best underwater photos from around the globe.

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The magazine fell through my letterbox this morning and I have to say it is a stunning collection. Especially helped because there are no adverts in it.

You can see some low res pages here (worth clicking on the link for Doug Perrine's grinning false killer whale

These sorts of special editions tend to come up every few years and also provide essential viewing and excellent inspiration. I always take the attitude to enjoy the collect of images that have amassed, rather than worry too much about who should be in there too and perhaps who should not. It is easy to pick holes in any such list (as it would be for films or albums). Kind of a selection of usual suspects and a few left field choices.

But for completeness, here is the list of those featured (order as listed at the front - a good number being wetpixel members) because if I don't type it. someone will ask:

Doug Perrine, Amos Nachoum, Jeff Yonover, Todd Essick, David Fleetham, Kevin Schafer, Emory Kristoff, Brandon Cole, Howard Hall, Alex Mustard, Howard Schatz, Wolfgang Leander, Jeff Rotman, Alexander Spiridonov, Phillip Colla, Brian Skerry, David Doubilet, Stephen Frink, Michael Aw, Magnus Lundgren, Jurgen Freund, Andre Crone, Andrey Nekrasov, Jean Lois Dannan, Gary Bell, Mark Conlin, Paul Nicklen, Ralph A. Clevenger, Norbert Wu and David Shale.

I don't see this being the easiest magazine to get hold of, it has taken about 6 weeks since publication and a million stamps (there was only just room for the address) for this to reach me. But it is well worth a look, if you get a chance.

Alex

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#2 TheRealDrew

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Posted 14 January 2010 - 07:47 AM

But for completeness, here is the list of those featured (order as listed at the front - a good number being wetpixel members) because if I don't type it. someone will ask:... Alex Mustard


Oh please, they have that Alex guy on the list and we are to take it seriously? :) Kidding aside, congrats to all, nicely done, shots look good even on the Low Res Link...

#3 yahsemtough

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Posted 14 January 2010 - 12:59 PM

Very cool. Congrats to all of those featured. That false killer whale shot is awesome.

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#4 davichin

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Posted 15 January 2010 - 01:17 AM

Congratulations to all! I canīt see any of the pictures; the little black screen just does not work in any of my computers and I have the latest Adobe flash version 10,0,42,34 installed :)
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#5 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 16 January 2010 - 04:10 AM

Congratulations to all! I canīt see any of the pictures; the little black screen just does not work in any of my computers and I have the latest Adobe flash version 10,0,42,34 installed :)


Maybe it is because your are Spanish. The magazine seems to have a blind spot for spanish photographers (as well as several other european countries)! :)

By the same logic, it should work very well in the States!

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#6 Simon Rogerson

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Posted 16 January 2010 - 04:53 AM

Maybe it is because your are Spanish. The magazine seems to have a blind spot for spanish photographers (as well as several other european countries)! :)

By the same logic, it should work very well in the States!



It looks like they've put together a fairly comprehensive look at the state of the art. As far as the list is concerned, they seem to be covering the ground well, but as Alex points out, there is a great well of talent in France, Germany and Spain in particular that is not represented.

But there's your problem. You fill a whole magazine with amazing images by leading photographers, but that list might easily be three or four times as long, and you've only got so many pages in a magazine, especially one with no advertising. And that's what strikes me – there are simply so many talented marine/underwater photographers out there. Could it be this is a Golden Age? Or is it just easier than before?

#7 Marjo

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Posted 16 January 2010 - 08:35 PM

Deleted (well edited, as I dont see whay of deleting) grumppy posting. My apologies. Lack of nitrogen affecting my brain, will remedy condition this condition in the morning and only post sunshine opinions henceforth.

Edited by Marjo, 16 January 2010 - 08:41 PM.


#8 Autopsea

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Posted 17 January 2010 - 01:02 AM

Congratulations to all the names in there ! it must be a nice achievment, despite the fact judging an art is always subjective there is no doubt that they are among the bests !

Simon, I think the same you could just do 10 issues full of very nice images. It became easy, and cheap. Still, if I had to give the ultimate price, I would not hesitate on more than 5 guys. but of course, I don't know everyone :)

I think at some level, what makes you "the best" is no anymore your competence, but more the time you spend underwater and where you spend it. give a very good photographer unlimited budget and a year for holliday and he'll be back as the best of the world in a year.
And, only allow the names on this magazine to go underwater in poor places 2 weeks a year, and everyone will forgot their name very fast.

It's all about money :)

Edited by Autopsea, 17 January 2010 - 01:09 AM.


#9 ScubaSapiens

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Posted 23 January 2010 - 08:33 AM

We work our asses off up here in the frigid waters of the arctic all winter photocopying little critters and gobies, and you think we do it for the money?? No way jose, we'd be up on here doin' it 'cause we're masochistic. Ain't no one gonna pay us anything for gobies anyway... but they sometimes do well in competitions :-)

Sorry, you just seem a little jealoux, if you ask me.

I thought you we're gonna end your reply with something more like this: "...allow the names on this magazine to go underwater in poor places 2 weeks a year, and they will still come up with great images". I actually was astounded you didn't end it like that, because that's what great photographers do - they work with what they have and get the results in the end. I know, not all of those names would have made it, but you can be pretty sure several of them would.

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#10 Autopsea

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Posted 23 January 2010 - 09:04 AM

Hi Chris :)

First of all, I'm not jealous. I'm 24 year old, I'll allow myself to be jealous about not being in there when I'll be 40.
As you can see, I congratulated all here, I'm happy for all of you, sincerly.

I didn't want to mean you were doing that FOR money, but that a big part of the photos you do are because of the money and free time you have (or you spend on it).

Of course you will still end up with greats image from two weeks in poor places. But then, if someone a bit less good than you spend 8 months diving in some of the best spots in the world, will he not have a lot more chances to be considered as "better than you" ? maybe he is not, he just have a better stuff and more opportunities. So that's why I think you have to relativize, maybe there is a 12 years old indian girl leaving in a tree which would, with the same stuff and opportunities, be way better than everyone here. who knows :island:

That all I wanted to mean, I think it is anyway stupid to do any judgment on photographer. You can only do on photos.
I'm around if you want to speak more about it ! I love this kind of discussion, as long as nobody get angry :)

#11 drako

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 06:36 AM

I am 24 also....and this sounds a bit arrogant.

#12 NCmermaid

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 06:48 AM

I think at some level, what makes you "the best" is no anymore your competence, but more the time you spend underwater and where you spend it. give a very good photographer unlimited budget and a year for holliday and he'll be back as the best of the world in a year.
And, only allow the names on this magazine to go underwater in poor places 2 weeks a year, and everyone will forgot their name very fast.
It's all about money :island:


In the past, I sometimes felt I wasn't getting any "wow factor" images because of my limited budget for travel...nothing exotic or on the "it" list. Then I read an incredible article written by Alex Mustard and I will never complain again. To quote a small piece of it:

Next time you see a photograph of an amazing creature that fills you with envy, visualise the image with a more mundane subject in its place. Is it still a good photograph, or simply a 'wow' subject? More often, it's the photo we've taken on our home patch that - through the vision and creativity of the snapper - results in a truly memorable image of an every-dive subject.

Follow the link for the complete article. Now when I am stuck at home shooting in my backyard, I reflect back to this article and challenge myself to shoot more creatively.

http://www.amustard....=...news&size=s
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#13 Scubamoose

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 06:52 AM

Congrats to all who made it in the magazine!
And patience to everyone who felt theyr name should be there :island:

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#14 Autopsea

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 06:53 AM

In the past, I sometimes felt I wasn't getting any "wow factor" images because of my limited budget for travel...nothing exotic or on the "it" list. Then I read an incredible article written by Alex Mustard and I will never complain again. To quote a small piece of it:
Next time you see a photograph of an amazing creature that fills you with envy, visualise the image with a more mundane subject in its place. Is it still a good photograph, or simply a 'wow' subject? More often, it's the photo we've taken on our home patch that - through the vision and creativity of the snapper - results in a truly memorable image of an every-dive subject.
Follow the link for the complete article. Now when I am stuck at home shooting in my backyard, I reflect back to this article and challenge myself to shoot more creatively.
http://www.amustard....=...news&size=s


I agree with this. I think you can make a wonderfull photos of almost anything. so it works for places.
not for time / equipment. :island:

I am 24 also....and this sounds a bit arrogant.

then it only "sounds".

I'm just saying that it's very hard to judge how good is a photographer.
you can only judge a mix between ([how good he is]+[how good is his stuff]+[how much time available he has]+[how many opportunity to have in marvelous places he has]).

Once again, I never said these names didn't deserve to be in there. I have no doubt they do.

Edited by Autopsea, 25 January 2010 - 06:57 AM.


#15 drako

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 07:29 AM

Well. In my opinion. Even if you go to all of these "wow" places. The shots have already been taken. It is about being unique, experimenting with light etc etc.
But yes. Like some people say "F8 and be there"

#16 Autopsea

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 07:44 AM

Well. In my opinion. Even if you go to all of these "wow" places. The shots have already been taken. It is about being unique, experimenting with light etc etc.
But yes. Like some people say "F8 and be there"


right ! (expet maybe for our friends in antartica :island: )

But then, go on this online magazine. look thru the pages, and count how many shots are just a nice subject/behaviour well shot, and how many are really creative.
so, I wasn't more speaking about creativity, it's more a general comment.

being in a sardine run has a price, for exemple. Or freediving with spermwhales, or flying under the ice.
it takes nothing to the great photographers that are in it (it actually give them, because they are probably not here by pure hazard: they showed they were good enough to be here), but it give them more chances than others when presenting their overall work, especially in term of diversity. (and please, it have nothing to do with me. just giving my opinion, not comparing myself of something. I would not have pick me if I had to do the list).

#17 scubamarli

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 07:14 PM

Some great images and great photographers. Am I the only one to notice they completely ignored female photographers? Too bad it ignored Michelle Westmoreland, Zena Holloway, etc., etc.

Interesting choices, nevertheless. Doug Perrine's shot simply rocks.

Cheers,
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#18 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 03 February 2010 - 02:44 AM

I think that this has turned into an interesting debate.

I certainly agree that some well-known photographers (not necessarily on the list) have stunning portfolios that are entirely "F8 and be there" in style. Such success certainly owes a lot to $$ and opportunity. A lot of photography of larger creatures is available light only and auto exposure. It is not a technical challenge and I agree that most half decent underwater photographers would end up with an equal or better portfolio with the opportunities.

Then there are other photographers who whether they are in an amazing place or and average local dive site have an ability to create truly memorable image. Many on this list fall into this category, and there are many more who are not listed.
I think Eric, Tony, Cor and Julie's current sperm whale trip is a great example. Here on Wetpixel we have seen lots of pictures of those whales down the years. But what this group has produced this week is on a completely different level. My favourite shot remains Tony's trio from the first day. It is shows that there is more than just being there with a good camera on F8.

In the past, I sometimes felt I wasn't getting any "wow factor" images because of my limited budget for travel...nothing exotic or on the "it" list. Then I read an incredible article written by Alex Mustard and I will never complain again. To quote a small piece of it:

Next time you see a photograph of an amazing creature that fills you with envy, visualise the image with a more mundane subject in its place. Is it still a good photograph, or simply a 'wow' subject? More often, it's the photo we've taken on our home patch that - through the vision and creativity of the snapper - results in a truly memorable image of an every-dive subject.


I think that the cover is a great example of this. It is an anemonefish, for goodness sake. The majority of divers have had the opportunity to photograph them.

But while I agree with this sentiment of the quote (having written it), I also look to leading photographers to go out and risk the time and $$ to find new places and bring back amazing images of great subjects. And often these work best as simple images. If you have a great subject you do not want to get over fussy with photographic techniques. I don't do a lot of trailblazing of locations (mainly for budget reasons), but I respect the photographers that do and bring back so many memorable images and stories.

I guess that is what continues to excite me about photography is that we all do it in a slightly different way. If we all shot the same we would only need one underwater photographer. But we don't and while you are doing it differently, you are creating fresh images that deserve to be seen.

Alex

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#19 Autopsea

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Posted 03 February 2010 - 03:24 AM

Well said.

I would add to the "what continues to excite me about photography" the fact that there is an very high number of way of shooting a subject, and a very high number of subjects in a very high number of locations with a very high number of possible equipment.

what a combo, no one will do it all in his life.

Edited by Autopsea, 03 February 2010 - 03:24 AM.


#20 Cary Dean

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Posted 03 February 2010 - 08:15 PM

Examples of what drives me/us to be better at our craft/hobby.
Underwater images are what got me into diving and photography.
The art of creating compelling uw images gets more challenging.....
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