Award-winning underwater photographer Davide Lopresti was born in Fezzano, Italy, and has enjoyed a special relationship with water from childhood. A competitive swimmer for several years, Davide’s big discovery, instead, was photography – a passion he claims conquered him. With a stunning portfolio of images, and impressive accolades to his name, Davide is UW360’s Underwater Photographer of the Week. We caught up with him for a quick Q&A and to showcase his top images:
What got you into underwater photography?
I started taking pictures underwater in 2010 and, starting directly in digital, I was immediately at ease with the various file developments and post-production programs, but without ever forgetting that the post-production is just a part (fundamental and unavoidable) of the production process of a photograph. It all starts from the study and preparation during shooting, the search for the best light, the best shot and the perfect colour scheme. It is a process that takes place in many ways and to dismiss it only to post-production is quite reductive.
I was fortunate to emerge rather quickly in underwater photography through various contests and magazines, managing to put myself out there right away. More difficult instead was searching and creating my own style, always without forgetting to experiment and try new techniques that have a strong value and are not misrepresented as art to conceal their weakness. A good photo should arrive “straight”; it must amaze and surprise. If this does not happen, it means that something is not working…
In my career as an underwater photographer, my travels [have been] almost entirely devoted to photography by searching for far-flung locations, and at the more common destinations, looking for a different and innovative point of view and trying to photograph the most common subjects with special techniques or devices.
What made you want to become an underwater photographer?
I think it was my love for the sea. Having been born in a small village overlooking the sea has further expanded this relationship by creating a connection that still feels strong.
Your first underwater shot?
My first photograph was with a reflex system and I can still remember it: a seahorse. I was excited about the encounter, and I had on hand an outfit so complex and demanding, equipment that then over the years has been with me in many other dives.
The story behind your most memorable underwater shot?
One of my most famous shots is definitely “Gold” – a photograph which recently won the “Underwater Photographer of the Year 2016” in London. It is a particularly technical picture in which there is a sense of movement and grace. To achieve it I had to use a long exposure to give the sense of movement in the background, combined with a flash with a snoot focused on the horse to freeze movement.
Where is your favourite dive destination?
My favourite destination is Bali. It stole me with its colours and its smells. The people of the place are amazing and the marine life is a constant discovery. It is one of those destinations I go back to every time I have the opportunity. Bali enters your heart and it is difficult to get her out.
The site you’d most like to dive, but never have?
For now on my wishlist are the crocodiles of the Chinchorro and the Sardine Run in southern Africa. I hope shortly to be able to tick off these two incredible destinations.
The weirdest thing you’ve seen underwater?
The most curious thing, for me, was to see an adult seal bite the fins of two white sharks several times as they circled our cages. I found it was absurd behaviour that you do not expect, but it is actually quite common. The adult seals try to leave “an imprint” on the sharks to prevent them attacking their pups.
What camera equipment are you currently using?
Now I am shooting with a Nikon D600 and a Nikon D750 in Nimar housing and Inon flash, and of course the inevitable 105mm and 60mm macro and 15mm Sigma Fisheye.
What is the highlight of your career?
I think it’s now, at this moment. I started aquamarine, a photographic studio with my wife Silvia, and Aquapixel, a digital laboratory dedicated to underwater photography, with my friend Marcelle.
…And the low point?
For now I have not had a low point. There was a period where I was stuck creatively, but it was not a low point. I just hope that the low point is not around the corner
For more of Davide’s work, click HERE.