To honour those who have supported, influenced, and spearheaded Asia’s Dive and conservation industry, UW360 has put together a list of significant individuals. This list is by no means exhaustive, nor is it a ranking. We recognise that there are many other deserving individuals who have contributed to the industry, and we would like to thank every diver, scientist, conservationist, educator, photographer, and volunteer for their commitment to the ocean.
Photographers & Filmmakers
35. Aaron Wong
Aaron Wong is one of the most published and recognised underwater photographers in Asia. With over a decade of field experience, Aaron’s images and his trademark lighting technique have won him international acclaim. He is also the official ADEX Ambassador of Photography.
36. Alex Mustard
Dr Alexander Mustard is an award-winning underwater photographer and marine biologist, best known for his book Underwater Photography Masterclass, which reveals exactly how to capture stunning photos and is widely regarded as essential reading. In 2016, he received the ADEX award for Outstanding Contribution to Underwater Photography. He writes monthly columns on underwater photography for Sport Diver (USA) and Diver (UK) magazines. Alex is Associate Editor for Wetpixel and the inventor of Magic Filters. He is the founder of the Underwater Photographer of the Year competition, and has judged most major contests open to underwater pictures including the Wildlife Photographer of the Year and the CMAS World Championship. Nissan built the NV200 concept car for the Tokyo Motor Show specially around his needs as an underwater photographer.
37. Brian Skerry
Brian Skerry is a photojournalist specialising in marine wildlife and underwater environments. Since 1998, he has been a contract photographer for National Geographic Magazine covering a wide range of subjects and stories. In 2014, he was one of five photographers named as a National Geographic Photography Fellow. In 2015, he was named a Nikon Ambassador and in June 2017, he was awarded the title of Rolex National Geographic Explorer of the Year.
38. David Doubilet
One of the world’s most celebrated underwater photographers, David Doubilet has spent five decades under the surface in the far corners of the earth from Africa’s interior, to remote tropical coral reefs, rich temperate seas and recent projects under the northern and southern ice. David’s personal mission is to create a visual voice for the world’s oceans and to connect people to the incredible beauty and silent devastation happening within the invisible world below. His powerful work has been recognised with numerous Picture of the Year, BBC Wildlife, Communication Arts and World Press awards. David was also awarded an Honorary Fellowship of The Royal Photographic Society in 2000, the Sara Prize, the Lowell Thomas Award, and the Lennart Nilsson Award in Photography.
39. Ernest H. Brooks II
Ernie Brooks is an ambassador for the marine environment, a renowned photographer, adventurer, diver and educator. He has captured profound images in the blue. Armed with the same camera for over 40 years, Brooks has amassed a portfolio unlike any other with his trademark black and white imagery used to document life below the waves. He has won countless awards, with his works published in a myriad of international publications.
40-41. Jim Chen & Lynn Wu
Jim Chen loves extreme sports and underwater photography, combining both adventure and art creation. In 2007, he was certified as an Open Water diver and in 2008, his underwater photography journey began. He also received exclusive interviews from British Daily Mail, Apple Daily, TVBS and other media. Lynn found a passion for the underwater world during a trip to Palau in 2006. She likes taking macro objects and her works have been published in various magazines and newspapers, she also won several awards including the Compact Camera Photo of the Year for Deepblu ADEX Voice of the Ocean 2016. Both Jim and Lynn have been winners of the National Sony World Photography Awards (Taiwan) in 2017 and 2018 respectively
42. Rob Stewart
Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, Rob Stewart began diving and photographing from the age of 13. By 18, Stewart was already a scuba instructor-trainer. Through a curiosity to explore the underwater world and its inhabitants, Stewart moved on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in biology. As a chief photographer for the Canadian Wildlife Federation’s magazines, he led expeditions to some of the most remote areas of the world. As a filmmaker, Stewart released the award-winning Sharkwater in 2006, followed by Revolution in 2012, and The Fight for Bala in 2015. On January 31, 2017, Stewart was filming off the coast of Florida when he went missing during a dive. His body was found three days later.
43. Laurent Ballesta
Laurent Ballesta studied marine biology, which culminated in a Master’s degree. He discovered a species of fish hitherto unknown in the Western Mediterranean. Combining his passion for underwater photography with his work as a biologist, Laurent has won numerous awards, and has been featured in international publications.
44. Lynn Funkhouser
Lynn, inducted into the inaugural Women Divers Hall of Fame, is an internationally-published photographer, author, lecturer, environmentalist, adventurer, and leader in dive travel. Diving and photographing over 260 islands in the Philippines, for two months each year since 1975, she is an expert on Philippine diving. Her latest honour was “Diver of the Year” 2014 in Arts at Beneath the Sea.
45. Paul Nicklen
Underwater Photographer and Filmmaker
Paul Nicklen is a Canadian photographer, filmmaker, and marine biologist who has documented the beauty and the plight of our planet for over twenty years. As an assignment photographer for National Geographic magazine, Nicklen captures the imagination of a global audience. Nicklen’s imagery has garnered over 30 of the highest awards given to any photographer in his field, including the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year and the prestigious World Press Photo for Photojournalism. He is equally recognised by the conservation community for his outspoken work, and has been awarded the Natural Resources Defense Council BioGems Visionary Award. Last year, Nicklen was bestowed a Doctorate at the University of Victoria, for the impact his photography has had on climate change. As a co-founder of the non-profit, SeaLegacy, Paul Nicklen is opening a fresh, progressive chapter in the story of ocean conservation. Most recently, Paul, along with his partner Cristina Mittermeier, were acknowledged as National Geographic’s 2018 Adventurers of the Year.
46. Paul Hilton
Paul is a Hong Kong-based photojournalist and wildlife trade consultant who focuses on global environmental and conservation issues. He is now an Associate Director with Manta Trust and a WildAid consultant. Paul’s undercover footage of the illegal wildlife trade features heavily throughout the 2015 film Racing Extinction, which premiered at the SunDance film festival. In 2009, Paul became a member of the prestigious International League of Conservation Photographers, and in 2010 launched his first book, Man & Shark, highlighting the global shark-finning industry. He has received numerous awards for his conservation photography: In 2012, he received a World Press Photo award for his work on the shark fin issue and was also awarded Wildlife Photographer of the Year in 2012, 2014 and 2016; he was also awarded at the Asian Geographic Best of the Decade series, and the Ark Trust Award for exposing bear bile farming in China, for Animals Asia Foundation.
47. Roger Munns
Specialising in natural history film-making, Roger was one of the principal cameramen on the BBC’s recent Blue Planet II series. He logged over 600hrs underwater on the series while filming ten different stories across four episodes. An underwater cameraman since 2001 Roger’s specialty is crafting complex, character-led stories. Notable sequences include a tusk fish exhibiting tool use from Blue Planet II, the first filming of the humpback whale heat-run in Tonga for One Life, and a brutally enthralling turtle mating sequence for David Attenborough’s Life Story. Through his stories and images Roger hopes to inspire viewers to care about, and protect the marine environment.
48. Scott Tuason
Scott was first handed his underwater camera at the age of 16. Decades later, his passion for photography has brought him on amazing journeys. From throwing himself into a feeding frenzy to dangling off a line in open water at night, his photography has been recognised by the Palme D’or at Antibes festival for his book Anilao, which he co-authored in 2000. His latest books, Blackwater and Open Blue, have won awards and are sold out worldwide.
49. Tim Ho
In 2009, Tim purchased his first underwater compact camera. As upgrading was too expensive and beyond the means of an island dive instructor, he started to explore and develop his own comprehension of how his camera worked. Today, his methods and compact camera techniques are used as reference materials by underwater photography trainers when teaching about compact camera use. Some of his earlier works are still often used as benchmarks of what to strive to achieve when shooting with a compact camera.
50. William Tan
William Tan has been fascinated with the creatures of the sea since his childhood. He travels extensively throughout the Pacific region, judging underwater photo competitions, and photographing marine life for tourism organisations, scientific research groups, dive magazines, camera manufacturers, and resorts.
51. Y.Zin Kim
Y.Zin Kim is a South Korean underwater photographer and filmmaker who combines high-quality underwater filming techniques with underwater modelling expertise. She has been involved in photoshoots for Korean TV shows, movies, advertisements, and magazines. In 2015, she set a world record for the 101-metre Sidemount Trimix. Currently, she promotes the East Sea of Korea and Jeju Island while continuing her documentation of the lives of the Haenyeo divers that she started six years ago.
52. Yorko Summer
Yorko Summer is a well-known underwater photographer from Taiwan, with more than 6,000 dives in his 15 years of scuba diving. Apart from being a senior diving instructor, Yorko is also an experienced travel journalist, photography lecturer and underwater photography competition judge. He has collaborated with reputed brands, and has been invited by the tourism boards of many countries as a tourism ambassador to promote local diving sites, including Taiwan’s Green Island.
53. Yoshi Hirata
A marine biologist and accomplished underwater photographer, Yoshi Hirata began his passion for diving when he was researching the rich marine resources of Sipadan and Mabul back in 1993 as a marine consultant. During the course of his work, he expressed his love for the sea by featuring thousands of amazing photos of Mabul in various magazine titles. He is also the author of three books namely Oraga-Umi, With… My Expression of Love for the Sea and Art of the Sea.