For many years I worked hard to keep other divers out of my photographs; I wanted to capture the underwater world as if I was the only person in it. But as a diving journalist, I’d submit a series of pictures to an editor and they’d always use the ones that I was least proud of, the ones with people in, and not the beautiful reefscapes that included nothing but fish and coral. Why was this?
I finally realized that what the editors wanted were photographs that said ‘this could be you’ and ‘you could be here, looking at this reef’. I had to change the way I worked; I wasn’t taking photographs just for myself any more, these were for a very different purpose. I needed to take pictures that could not only sell an article, but could help sell a dive destination. Here are some of my favorite underwater pics with people in them, I actually think the inclusion of a person has helped the image and added a sense of scale.
These days, I’m now always on the lookout for a suitable model. On a dive boat that’s fairly easy – I usually recruit the dive guide, who was hoping for an easy week until I turned up. Other times, I rely on my long-suffering buddies to shove their faces towards the coral and pose without too much of that annoying and photo-ruining bubble blowing.