Water Column turns 50

Water Column turns 50 on Wetpixel

DIVE’s World Editor and underwater photographer, Douglas Seifert, is celebrating a milestone with the publication of 50 successive Water Columns. To mark the occasion, DIVE has featured a retrospective anthology of his articles this month.

Wetpixel contacted Douglas, who was on a trip in the Philippines, and asked him to add a few of his own words to the feature. In his reply, Douglas says:

I don’t know how I did it. Every month I was ready to quit. Yet if you stick with something, it changes you and there is a resultant body of work. I’m pretty chuffed actually.

Commenting about his editorial brief and the column, he says:

I have had the good fortune to explore stories and subjects of marine natural history and wildlife that intrigue me as my profession. I am not particularly lucky but I work hard to bring back imagery to illustrate the stories and put in the time to do the research and the writing. I always have a deadline pressing down on me. There is never quite enough time.

Often I have to work even harder to persuade the editor that a story is worthwhile and will be of interest to the readers that do actually read the features. But DIVE has endured over the years because the editorial decisions are made on an intelligent, thoughtful basis, with an emphasis on the greater good. Our coverage of conservation threats in World Without Sharks and Killing the Golden Manta are fine examples of editorial philosophy over seeking advertising revenue. From Graeme Gourlay to Paul Critcher to Simon Rogerson to Jo Mattock, our editorial team has defined DIVE’s best qualities. We have also been fortunate to work with creative art directors to provide a visual flair that readers have come to expect.”

He also compares the process of creating the articles to those in bigger publications with more resources:

Unlike mainstream publications where the photographers have generous budgets and overly high salaries and loose deadlines, combined with the written content contracted to professional magazine writers who have little or no contact or field experience with the subject they are writing about, Water Column has to deliver the goods each and every feature and be accurate, truthful and relevant with a bare bones budget. Almost every feature was written on the road with the accompanying images being processed on a laptop against a tight deadline.”

Looking forward, Douglas anticipates:

There are so many more fascinating stories out there, the sea is full of beauty and wonder. So no resting upon one’s laurels. More work ahead, more dives for the foreseeable future. The next 50 Water Columns will focus on more pieces of the mosaic of undersea marvels as our fuller picture of the ocean world is revealed…