Photographer and ocean researcher Pasquale Vassallo was born in the coastal city of Naples in 1970. He grew up with an adoration for the sea, spending his youth searching for octopuses and other marine creatures on single breaths of air, before developing a passion to explore the underwater world. He has since amassed an impressive trophy cabinet of awards including Best of Show at LAUPS and the Plongeur D’or of Marsiglia. We introduce to you our Underwater Photographer of the Week, Pasquale Vassallo:
What made you want to become an underwater photographer?
A passion for the sea first got me interested in underwater photography before I finally approached it. I discovered a new world living in the sea, that I could take home with me even when I didn’t dive.
Your first underwater shot?
It was a long time ago. I remember a shot of a scorpionfish and it was very hard to catch him in my Nikonos 3’s frame.
The story behind your most memorable underwater shot?
This picture was taken in the water of Posillipo, in Naples during the month of January. Finally after spending long days waiting, that morning Vesuvius was blanketed, the sky and the water was clear and, despite the cold, I felt that it was the right time to do it. After several shots in/out, I was rewarded by the arrival of an octopus who, without his knowledge, became the primary subject of the photo: “A View of the Gulf”.
Where is your favourite dive destination?
There are many places where I have dived and it was fantastic. I love those places and destinations where you can find different and new photography subjects. Nevertheless my Mediterranean Sea is on top.
The site you’d most like to dive, but never have?
The weirdest thing you’ve seen underwater?
I have seen many different events during my dives over the years. In one of the last, during a night dive, I was focused closely on shooting a seahorse. Suddenly a big cuttlefish caught him right in front of my eyes, leaving my frame empty.
What camera equipment are you currently using?
I currently have two cameras (Canon 5D Mark II and 5Dsr). My favourite lenses are Canon 8-15mm, 16-35mm and 100mm macro. I use Inon flashes and a Seacam housing.
What is the highlight of your career?
I hope that I have not found it yet.
…And the lowpoint?
I hope to have already passed it.
Is there any particular shot that you still want to get?
I am continuously searching for new images and new photo subjects, constantly researching into the newest shots, to create different and hopefully better photographs.
Any upcoming photography projects?
I have many projects in my mind and I wish to achieve most of them. Anyway I’m really happy for what I have achieved so far within the underwater photography world. Never stop and never give up.