Photographer interview with Creem Magazine

What is the concept behind your work?
I think it’s that the world underwater is so much more interesting. I like the unexpected, the unusual and working underwater gives me the environment to be able to do that.

When did you start doing underwater photography?
I was 18 when I got my first job working as a SCUBA diving instructor and it was a short step to pick up a camera from there. I quickly progressed to working underwater behind a camera filming tourists and then travelled back to the UK to work commercially as a diver for film studios. My style of photography grew from there.

What brought you to choose underwater photography?
I think it chose me. I was in the right place at the right time and took the opportunity when it appeared. Once set on that path it seemed the best option to stay there and keep moving forward with it.

What do you want to communicate with your work?
I’m keen to make images that are unique and to stamp my style on to them. I want the viewer to be interested by the image and feel that I’ve captured a unique moment in time.

What is the criteria while selecting the subjects for your pictures?
Funny but the water really strips back to the essence of a person both physically and mentally. I love to see people with dance training as their movements are more than often so fluid. I also worked with Tom Daily (the UK diving champion) and he was doing this incredible pike shape underwater which I wouldn’t have thought possible. My models come from all walks. Sometimes I choose the people who just have a spark that I think I can work with and teach them the underwater part.

How do you feel when shooting underwater? What goes on in your mind while submerged?
Actually the very last thing I think about is being underwater. I’m so used to it that it’s no different than taking a picture whilst walking. Sometimes it’s a bit of a hassle to have to go to the surface to breathe but it comes with the territory.

How does the perception of “weight” change when you work underwater?
Good question.  I like that things are weightless underwater. It’s one of the very important visual references to being underwater; that and the reference to ripples and bubbles are the main give away and it’s frequently the reason to take the shoot underwater in the first place.

How do you figure out the composition for an image?
Underwater movement is never the same twice. It’s rare for me to have a solid surface to shoot from so both model and camera are usually moving around within the whole 360 degree space. I like the way images evolve and you never get the same action a second time and there’s often a moment of magic when I just think ‘wow’ and everything comes together for a split second.

Let’s talk about motion…
Motion is becoming more and more important to my work. This is the way image making is moving forward and it often feels like the traditional ‘still’ image is going to become obsolete. For me motion is a fresh challenge and one that I’m loving.
Here is the latest film project that I worked on for the Elle Style Awards