THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Who hasn’t dreamt of living in the fairy tale world of Ariel in the Little Mermaid? And as we celebrate World Photography Day, on August 19, exploring the depths of underwater wonder by aesthetically capturing the treasured moments in his camera is Richard Antony, the shutterbug who initially tried and has successfully brought the vast world of underwater photography to Keraliites. Richard, who initially began his career as a graphic designer, soon discovered photography as his calling during his travels. “I was into designing but later on due to interest in photography, shifted to fashion photography. So while surfing internet, I used to see international magazines doing photoshoots underwater. And from there the idea of underwater photography germinated,” says Richard.
For Richard, a self taught photographer, the initial attempts at underwater photography were fruitless. “During that time this type of photography wasn’t familiar. It was not like I expected, because the techniques that we use to shoot terrestrial photos aren’t applicable in marine setting. Initially, I did not get the colour correct or the tone won’t be right. There was no one to whom I could turn for guidance too. So it was more like a trial and error method for me to learn the art, along with the help of internet,” says the Kochi-based photographer.
To capture the beautiful underwater images, Richard uses a Canon Mark III, with a underwater camera housing. “The camera and the kit enables to do shoots even up to 200 feet underwater,” he says.
Richard did his first underwater photoshoot in 2013. And from then on there has been no turning back. He has created a niche in underwater wedding photography, playing around unique concepts for each couple. “Before the photoshoot, I give my clients a sketch as to what would be done and which expression they should give out once they are inside water. We donot advise people who have asthma and other health problems for this,” says the 27-year-old shutterbug.
The beautiful shots etched on splendid canvas doesn’t come without risks. “Underwater photography involves lot of risk. Holding breath in water is one main problem. For people who know swimming, it will be much easy but for others, first we train them. Another issue is getting the perfect expressions. For an untrained person, in water they have the tendancy to shut the eyes and while smiling, they might drink the water too,” explains Richard who had done around 30 underwater shoots fo far.
Richard along with his team of eight train the people before venturing into any shoot. “We give 1-2 hours training in a pool before the photoshoot. We explain the expression they should do in water, since giving instructions underwater is not possible. In a span of five-seven hours we complete a shoot,” he says.He has recently finished the shoot of actor Rajeev Pillai for a magazine.
Richard is also planning to bring out a underwater calendar for next year. For this he is getting himself trained in scuba diving in Kovalam.