S umer’s first scuba diving experience dates back to 1997, at the age of 21, when he dived near Lakshadweep Islands. Twenty years and thousands of dives later, his love for the ocean remains resolute. The crystal clear water with turtles, dolphins, sharks, and sting rays swimming in harmony around you — this is what he considers to be ‘true magic’.
But Sumer’s love for the ocean has also made him one among the first underwater photographers and cinematographers in India. He has worked on two Tamil films, Maryan and Theri, and is now working on a Hindi film, Raabta.
For this 41-year-old, experienced scuba diver and seasoned photographer, the love for photography blossomed from marine life photography, but he points out that even for an established photographer like himself, it is difficult to sustain with just marine life and wildlife photography. This soon evolved into model photo shoots with water as his primary medium.
“Going below the surface to see how beautiful it is, how peaceful it is — that’s a very transforming experience and can be understood only through personal experience,” says Sumer, who lives far away from the madding crowds of the city for about eight months of the year.
Sumer is also an active member of ReefWatch Marine Conservation, an NGO dedicated to protecting damaged coral reefs. “People don’t know the impact of what they do.
We are overconsuming and damaging our planet and in the next 50 years or so it will reach a point beyond restoration,” says Sumer, bearing witness to the dying reefs and loss of fish diversity.
The Mumbaikar owns a Canon EOS 5D Mark II, which is an all-round camera. His basic gear includes an underwater housing, video lights and flash/strobe lights for still photography.
“I like the medium of water, the fluidity, the peace, the silence; I love the way the light flows. I find it a very beautiful medium to work with,” says Sumer.
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