Thursday, May 17, 2007

Roger Horrocks - remember this name.....

When I first saw Roger's underwater photographs a few months ago, I immediately knew that this young self-taught South African photographer has all the makings of becoming one of the world's best. I would even go as far as saying that with some more hard work he could be one day the Sebastiao Salgado of underwater photography. (Sorry, David Doubilet, I still consider you the grand-seigneur in the trade, but we oldies have to eventually yield to the pushing youths... :-)

Salgado, undoubtedly the standard-setting photojournalist of our times, also started out as an amateur. Sebastiao Salgado and Roger Horrocks have in common that they were both corporate men before they switched to photography full-time. Roger was a promising advertising executive and finance expert before he decided that a life in offices was not for him.

As a freediver and spearfisherman Roger already had a taste of the big adventure, and the fact that he is competitive - Roger belonged to the elite of South Africa's spearos - made his decision to dedicate his life to underwater photography simple. I say 'simple' knowing that to do what many others dream of, namely becoming 'professional' adventurers, is not at all an easy thing to tackle. It takes guts, sacrifice, and much determination to embark on a new career, starting from zero, and knowing that there are a lot of folks out there who are already accomplished.

Roger just had his first photographic exhibition in Cape Town, and from what I could gather, the event has been a smashing success. It did not surprise me at all - just have a look at the photographs that he has selected for the exhibition. They are all the more stunning when one considers that Roger took up photography as recently as two years ago. The guy is really a "Naturtalent", as we say in German.

Roger takes all his images while freediving. That allows him to approach the "big stuff", such as Tiger Sharks, in a way scuba-divers can't, even if they use re-breathers. When you freedive, which is the most natural way for a mammal to dive, you are not an intruder - you belong naturally, and this sensation is one of the essential ingredients that enables you to capture the underwater world as Roger does.

As an old freediving photographer, I was privileged to dive with Roger and see him 'at work' - when he goes down, smoothly as if he was himself a creature of the sea, you watch him sporting the long fins and just marvel at the elegance of his flowing movements.

Congrats, Roger!! - I am looking forward to diving, and sharing our passion for the sharks, with you again next year. Felix will be with us - we will make an incredible team of 'Ocean Men'....

See Roger's work

No comments: