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  • November 26, 2013

David Doubilet on the World Beneath the Surface

“We’re making pictures that have to astound, that have to open people’s eyes, that have to stop people.” —David Doubilet

Australian sea lions swim in the waters of the Great Australian Bight, featured in Milestones of Underwater Photography.
Australian sea lions swim in the waters of the Great Australian Bight, featured in Milestones of Underwater Photography.

David Doubilet inadvertently realized his sense of awe with the underwater world as an 8-year-old at a New York summer camp. He opened his eyes under the water and was instantly mesmerized by a world of different light.  Doubilet began his career in underwater photography by shooting through a rubber anesthesiologist’s bag, before eventually graduating to diving with scuba gear to the depths of the world’s oceans. Describing his work, he says, “We go to the ends of the earth, and then we go underwater.”  Since his first assignment over 40 years ago, Doubilet has had close to 70 stories published in National Geographic Magazine. —Allison Russell, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

This video portrait was produced by National Geographic magazine in partnership with the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. It is part of an ongoing series of conversations with the photographers of the magazine, exploring the power of photography and why this life of imagemaking suits them so well. Learn more about the making of the series and watch the full trailer here.

Follow David Doubilet on Instagram and Twitter.

Video Production Credits
Photographer: David Doubilet
Producers: Pamela Chen, NGM
Chad A. Stevens, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Associate Producer: Elyse Lipman, NGM
Editors: Allison Russell, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Camera and Sound: Spencer Millsap, NGM, Shannon Sanders, NGM

There are 21 Comments. Add Yours.

  1. Silas
    December 9, 2014

    Jim Richardson is absolutely right David. We’ve always enjoyed your underwater shots and your choice of subjects. I just forgot that you’ve shot before the digital era with roll cameras. Even today when I compare your shots with the digital ones, I can’t imagine that your shots in the 1990s weren’t shot with a digital camera!

  2. Florensia Jonathan
    January 22, 2014

    Thank you for the wonderfull pictures that made me feel life is really so much more then what I do realize

  3. Peter Beck
    December 22, 2013

    Visual impact. Mr. Doubilet’s images have that in spades. He always leaves us wanting for more.

  4. PL_FL
    December 22, 2013

    I’ve been a fan for years. Breathtaking work!

  5. SimoneVennemann
    December 22, 2013

    I just found the beauty and the speciality of underwater and its facinating!!! Thank you for your job and the awesome pictures!!! I love to look at them!!!

  6. Tom Gormley
    December 22, 2013

    I’ve enjoyed your work for years & my daughters were glued to the TV when N.G. aired show’s Now another generation are Enjoying your Wonderful awesome work :)

  7. nitin maru
    December 18, 2013

    in few words…..IT’s Awesome…..Mind Blowing .May Be you should also like this…

  8. Lenita Tadena
    December 14, 2013

    Seeing the beauty of the world underwater without being there personally is a great pleasure to picture it in the mind. My imagination reaches to where you are.Thank you NatGeo.

  9. Fairly Maria Turambi
    December 11, 2013

    What a shot. I just thought that this is one of a graphic simulation…
    such an art ^^ Awesome sea^^ #loveitmuch^^

  10. yusuf bozok
    December 10, 2013

    basarılar diliyorum

  11. Tom Garfield
    December 10, 2013

    Wow! Ever since I first saw some of your photos back in the mid sixties your works have continued to amaze me. They inspired me to look below and appreciate what is there. Now I just have to figure out what to do with my old Nikonos!

  12. Leah
    December 8, 2013

    Awesome pic. Thank you for going underwater and introducing to us a very nice view….. Although I also love going underwater back home n appreciating the beauty underneath the water as well as do. Good job! Thank you for your great work. The best!

  13. Muhammad Yulizar
    December 4, 2013

    AWESOME !!!

  14. Jim Richardson
    November 28, 2013

    Dan, you are lucky indeed to be on the Explorer, and I’m hoping the Drake Passage is treating you well. You are right the ship is a showcase for David’s work.

  15. mina
    November 28, 2013

    love your books and your pictures are beautiful

  16. Melissa Ringer-Hardy
    November 27, 2013

    Dave is Amazing, we consider ourselves lucky to have such a Great Person and Artist as part of our Community. His books are very popular with our children, opening a whole new world to them…thanks Dave!

  17. Dan Throop
    November 27, 2013

    My wife Lauran and I are on the National Geographic Explorer returning from Antarctica though the Drake Passage as I write this.
    All througout the ship I both see David’s works and hear praises of him and Jenn from fellow passengers and crew alike. David truly is a legend on this ship

  18. Jim Richardson
    November 27, 2013

    David Doubilet is one of those photographers that other NatGeo photographers (like me) both admire and despair of ever equaling. When the magazine arrives and I see one of his stories I know that I’m going to go away feeling both jealous and inadequate, but also elated and in awe. I can’t tell you if this is good for inspiration or just reveals my baser side, but I can tell you it sets the bar, and I’ll know when I go out the door on my next assignment that the bar is set very high. That’s where we photographers live and David is one of the photographers that makes our world what it is.

  19. vivian frerichs
    November 26, 2013

    Love the shots. Wonderful interview. Enjoyed it so very much! Thank you for the work you do.

  20. abdul rahman
    November 26, 2013

    I had seen documentary on deep water fish like a plastic white showing only heart on nat geo

  21. Blanca Pinon
    November 26, 2013

    in awe … could feel texture of their skin … their habitat … their world …

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