History and evolution of underwater photography

by spotmydive

Did you know that underwater photography is as old as the « classic » photography? It’s been more than 160 years that the first pictures were taken underwater.

1. The first underwater photographers 1856

In 1856 William Thompson and Mr Kenyon are the first to build a metallic box in order to protect a camera and shoot photo underwater. Unfortunately there is nothing left from their work but we can pay tribute to those pioneers who changed the way we look our seas and oceans.

2. The first underwater photo 1893

Louis Boutan is the first to achieve is goal and brought back a photography from underwater. Here is the first submarine selfie and it dates from 1893. This pioneer will experiment a lot and create the very first waterproof cases. According to the writings, the device used was so heavy that it took not less than 3 men to move it.

3. “20,000 leagues under the sea” 1916

This movie based on the novel from Jules Verne is the first film using images captured beneath the surface. The Williamson brothers will use an invention of their father in order to film underwater. For the first time in a film you can see fish swimming and a diver walking on the seabed.

4. First color underwater photo 1923

The botanist W.H. Longley and the photoghrapher Charles Martin used a magnesium based flash in order to capture the first color underwater photo. Thanks to them, in 1927, for the first time the public could discover corals, anemones and sea fans in the famous National Geographic magazine.

5. First underwater camera housing 1950

The French company Beuchat produces in 1950 the Tarzan. It is the first underwater camera housing commercialized. It was designed by Henry Broussard a famous underwater photographer for the French camera “Foca”.

6. First commercial success 1957

We have to wait until 1957 and Jacques-Yves Cousteau before moving to the next technological stage. The worldwide famous captain and Jean de Wouters a Belgian engineer design the “Calypso” an amphibious camera. The revolution of underwater imaging begins. The “Calypso” is also the first big commercial success.

7. The 2000’s : democratization of the market

Camera technology is growing super-fast. With the arrival of Go Pro and compact cameras cameras start to get miniaturized and prices become more affordable. Today almost everyone can bring back from his aquatic adventures incredible photos and videos. Some companies also offer more high-end caissons for professional renderings.

8. Spotmydive set up and Hugyfot

Many of you were asking us for our set up. Here is our secret! For most of our videos and photos we are using a HUGYFOT PRO+ housing with a Go Pro. We love their product and cannot go in the water without it. This is the reason why decided to build a long term partnership with this brand this product. Perfectly adapted to our aquatic outings. In 2017 Hugyfot, launches a housing, the Vision Hero 5 designed especially for the GO PRO 5. At the moment, it is the most advances and well developed housing for action cameras.

Vision Hero 5 housing specifications:

  • – Housing milled out of sea water resistant aluminium.
  • – Black anodized and Teflon coated.
  • – Ergonomic shutter release.4
  • – Large front window for GoPro lens and LCD screen.
  • – Small front window for internal battery status indicator.
  • – Rotary eccentric quick closing mechanism.
  • – Red filter and screen protection with hinges.
  • – Rigid aluminium handles with 1” arm balls.
  • – Multi-purpose wing.
  • – Depth rating 200m.
  • – 7” HDMI monitor.
  • – Push buttons for screen adjustment.
  • – Large removable sun hood.
  • – Plug and play installation of Hero 5 camera.
  • – Pre-wired USB HDMI system.
  • – 2 x Hama Premium Alu Power Pack 8000mAh 5h battery life.
  • – Dual O-ring sealing system.
  • – Optional hinge system for macro lens available.