11 Ocean Photographers You Should Know

I was very excited when Pelfusion posted 35 Underwater Photographs That Stand Out. Unfortunately most of the photographs feature models underwater in flowing dresses or pseudocharismatic large cats.  Far less than half of the photographs contain the actual denizens of the sea. What’s up with that?

So without further delay, DSN introduces our ten favorite underwater photographers and favorite photographs from each one.  Out of respect for the photographers, we have posted no photos here and instead ask you to visit their respective sites and take a look around. Our criteria for making the list…1) We like it. 2) The biodiversity of the ocean is clearly exhibited. 3) The photographs are artistic and not just a matter of being in the right spot with a great camera while doing scuba.  As a photography instructor once told me… the camera is not as important as who is behind it.

1. Jason Bradley is one underwater photographer you should know.  Sure he’s my friend and dive buddy, but I wouldn’t hang with someone if their work was subpar.  What can I say I have standards.  Kevin Z just barely makes it.  Jason’s work has occurred in multiple venues including National Geographic. That iconic photo of a baby sea turtle venturing into the dangerous ocean that we all know…that’s Jason’s.  DSN Pick One & Two.

2. David Doubilet has photographed over 60 stories for National Geographic where he is currently a Contributing Photographer-in-Residence. DSN Pick One and Two

3. Stephen Frink is among the most published underwater photographers and served as Director of Photography for Scuba Diving Magazine.  DSN Pick One and Two

4. Tony Wu (portfolio) author of Silent Symphony which received the Grand Prize for Books at the World Festival of Underwater Pictures. Wu was featured on DSN previously for capturing the amazing act of a sperm whale actually eating a giant squid. DSN Pick One, Two, and Three

5. Peter Batson, a marine biologist  from New Zealand, has contributed to many books, magazines and newspaper articles throughout the world. His most recent work is Deep New Zealand : Blue Water, Black Abyss.  You probably already know his work and don’t know it. DSN Pick One and Two.

6. Dr. Alexander Mustard underwater photographer, author, and marine biologist, has also won many photography awards including being a multiple winner of the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year and World Festival of Underwater Photography. He has done just about everything. Portfolio here, make sure you look at DSN picks 8/102, 38/102, and 96/102.

7. Magnus Lundgren has won many national and awards and prizes. Recent examples are a silver medal in the World Championship of Underwater Photography in 2007, Best in Show of Wetpixel’s DEEP Indonesia and two awards in the same competition during 2008.  DSN Pick One and Two

8. Michael Aw, an underwater photographer who also founded OceanNEnvironment with the mission to promote and initiate preservation projects and to document the status of coral reefs, biodiversity and the impact of man-made pollution through research programs, and measurable conservation projects. DSN Pick One and Two are “The Boxer” and “You Talking to Me?” on this page

9. Brian Skerry has been a contract photographer for National Geographic since 1998 and his work is also occurred in numerous other magazines. Several favorites just let the slide show play on the homepage.

10. Ernie Brooks has contributed to numerous magazines and organizations including: Cousteau Society, California Highways, Ocean Realm, Monterey Bay Aquarium, Nature Conservancy and Natural Wildlife. He is a recipient of numerous honors and awards including: 1973 ‘Triton Award’ Inner Space Pacifica, Hawaii; 1975 ‘NOGI’ The Underwater Society of America; 1977 ‘National Award’ Professional Photographers of America; 1971 through 1980 Hall of Fame elector Photographic Arts and Science Foundation; 1978 Camera Craftsmen of America; ‘Hall of Fame’ Underwater Photographic Society; was honored by the Oceanic Community of SSI and Nikon for 5000 hours beneath the sea ‘Platinum Pro Diver Award’; and  ‘The 1996 Partner’s Award’ from the American Oceans Campaign for his lifelong commitment and dedication to our oceans. Yes, that is a lot.  Check out DSN Picks 8/51 and  12/51

11.  I was going to stop at ten but then Jason Bradley turned me on to Paul Nicklen.  Like the others his credentials are tight… lots of awards, lots of photographs in publications you know like National Geographic, some books, and so forth.  DSN Picks include the whole damn Narwhal gallery.

Dr. M (1618 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Assistant Director of Science for the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, created to facilitate research to address fundamental questions in evolutionary science. He has conducted deep-sea research for 11 years and published over 40 papers in the area. He has participated in dozens of expeditions taking him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses mainly on marine systems and particularly the biology of body size, biodiversity, and energy flow. He focuses often on deep-sea systems as a natural test of the consequences of energy limitation on biological systems. He is the author and chief editor of Deep-Sea News, a popular deep-sea themed blog, rated the number one ocean blog on the web and winner of numerous awards. Craig’s popular writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web.





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