The British Society of Underwater Photographers (BSoUP)
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CPEX '89

Crystal Palace National Sports Centre Saturday and Sunday March 1989

by Brian Pitkin

Reproduced from in focus 32. (Apr-May. 1989)

As many of you must be aware, BSoUP, in the shapes of Brian Pitkin and Les Kemp, organised a Festival of films and audio-visuals and special underwater photographic workshops at CPEX 189, the Exhibition and Festival of Underwater Sport at Crystal Palace over t4e weekend of March 18th/19th.

The Festival films and audio-visuals were shown between 11.00 and 15.00 hrs, with Workshops at 15,00 hrs, on Saturday 18th and again on Sunday 19th March in Gym 1. The five one hour sessions each day were be hosted by Brian Pitkin, who introduced the films, audio-visuals, and workshops and some of the photographers and cinematographers responsible for making them.

Over 700 of the 9000+ people who attended CPEX '89 paid to join BSoUP In the dark, cool gymnasium for this spectacular line-up of underwater images. Over the lunch period on Sunday, the Gym was filled to capacity with many of the 200+ audience having to stand. Brief details of the photographers/cinematographers who contributed to the Festival follow in alphabetical order.

MARTIN EDGE and JIM ELDRIDGE

Martin Edge is an amateur underwater stills Cameraman with a passion for audio-visuals. He started diving in 1979 and took up underwater photography Just over a year later. He won the Diver Trophy in BSoUP's Annual Best Beginner's Portfolio Competition in 1985. The same year he combined his talents with a non-diving amateur audio-visual producer, Jim Eldridge. Together they made a remarkable six-projpctor underwater audio-visual, 'Sea of Dreams'. This was shot on Martin's first trip to the Red Sea and premiered at BSoUP's July 1985 meeting where it received a spontaneous standing ovation.

Martin and Jim's second and most recent audio-visual, 'Imaginations', also shot in the Red Sea, was first shown to an equally highly appreciative audience at the 1987 Brighton Festival.

Jim, assisted by Percy Williams, was present at CPEX 189 to project the two excellent audio-visuals. whilst Martin was diving overseas.

PETER HUGHES

Peter Hughes is vice-president of Marine Sports who own and run one of the largest chains of diving operations in the Caribbean - Peter Hughes Diving. Two fully equipped and staffed dive shops with a fleet of twelve custom-built dive boats provide easy access to more than 50 dive sites around Bonaire and Klein Bonaire. From the Divi Tiara Beach Hotel on Cayman Brac, four dive boats designed by Peter whisk divers out to some of the finest dive sites on the Brac and Little Cayman, The 110 ft live-aboard 'Sea Dancer'. provides accommodation for up to 24 guests as they explore the reefs around the islands of the Turks and Caicos. A further two custom-designed dive boats give quick access to both the Caribbean and Atlantic sides of Barbados.

Peter was present at GPEX '89 to introduce a three-projector audiovisual on Caribbean diving and provide further information about his diving operation and diving in the Caribbean.

LES KEMP

Les Kemp is an amateur underwater stills photographer. He was once employed by Electrosonic, so it was quite natural that Les should move into producing audio-visuals. when he took up underwater photography as a hobby. He won a Silver Medal at Brighton '87 for his audio-visual 'Reinvasion', which tells, in Vivid detail, of the sinking and recolonisation of a wreck in the English Channel. The clever use of sound effects attests to Les' mastery of the tape deck and the effects combine well with excellent British underwater Images.

At BSoUP's 21st Anniversary Splash-In last year, Les won the BSoUP Trophy for the Best Contrived Shot with an outstanding picture of a Diver underwater holding a Birthday cake complete with 21 candles - all alight!

'Underwater Curagao', Les' most recent audio-visual, which Is about this small island in the Lesser Antilles and diving from it, had never been shown publicly before.

Les, who has hosted numerous film and audio-visual presentations for the BSAC Festival of Underwater Sport at Crystal Palace, was present at CPEX '89 to introduce and project his two audio-visuals and provide technical support both prior to and throughout the weekend.

JACK McKENNEY

Born in Ontario, Canada in 1938, Jack McKenney began diving in 1952, In 1965 he moved to the Bahamas and became one of the original members of Freeport's Underwater Explorers Society. Three years later he became associate editorof Skin Diver Magazine and then editor. His work earned him a host of awards at film festivals and since 1976 he worked full time as an underwater cinematographer, becoming one of the few divers in the world to earn a living by doing so. He worked as a stuntman and cameraman for many Hollywood film epics, doubling for Nick Nolte in the film 'The Deep', He made 50 dives on the 'Andrea Doriall to film the recovery of the safe from the ship. His passion was producing underwater films. Humour and sound effects wore his particular trade marks, but the spread of his talent was formidable.

Regrettably Jack died unexpectedly, In December last year, at the age of 50. He suffered heart failure following a respiratory complaint which developed into pneumonia. Jack made many excellent films and two of these, 'The Joy of Diving' and 'I'd ratheil be diving' were shown, by courtesy of the BSAC, at CPEX 189 as a tribute to his memory and great talent.

MIKE PORTELLY

Mike Portelly Is a professional underwater stills photographer, cinematographer and film director. Whilst a dental surgeon he made his first dive with a camera in 1976 and three months later, at the Brighton Festival. walked away with Gold. Silver and Bronze medals - and the Best Beginner Award to boot! In 1979 he won the Tilbrook Trophy for the Best Portfolio at Brighton '79 and. with Derek gerwin. won the World Team Championship In Sicily for Great Britain, Since then he has won many major underwater photographic awards and moved via audio-visuals into the world of cine. This has not stopped him from shooting stills. although the majority of his time is spent film making,

'The Ocean's Daughter'. Mike's first full-length film is a highly acclaimed fictional drama set In the Red Sea, This was projected twice over the weekend. It was first shown at the Brighton Festival in 1983. Since then Mike has moved Into the world of advertising - directing, producing and filming some equally stunning underwater sequences.

PETER SCOONES

Peter Scoones is a professional underwater film and video cameraman and stills photographer and probably the most talented and versatile in Britain. He Is also a skilled designer and engineer, frequently applying his talents to producd novel solutions to difficult underwater technical problems.

Trained originally as a naval architect, Peter then became a photographer with the RAF before going freelance. Peter was one of the founder members of BSoUP and has won all of the major Underwater Photography awards, some more than once. He took the first ever film of a living Coelacanth and much more recently was involved in the BBC'S Natural World series 'The Great Rift'. He was also one of the cameramen involved in BBC's first live underwater broadcast 'Reef Watch', for which he designed and built his own broadcast quality video housing.

Peter, who has an encyclopaedic knowledge of underwater photography and cinematography, was present at CPEX '89 to lead BSoUP's Underwater Photographic Workshops. and was ably assisted by Benny Sutton.

MIKE VALENTINE

Mike Valentine Is a professional underwater cameraman and stills photographer and underwater film director. He won the Diver Trophy in BSoUIP's Annual Best Beginner's Portfolio Competition back in 1982. At the Brighton Festival 1987. Mike was a close contender for the title of Grand Master of Underwater Photography, winning two trophies, two Gold and three Silver medals. His first film, 'Sea Gypsy', was amongst his Silver medal winners at Brighton and won the Palm d'Or at the Antibes Festival last year. Since then Mike has been involved as Second Unit Director in MGM's 'Leviathan' and as Underwater Cameraman in 'The Fruit Machine' and 'Indiana Jones and the Final Crusade', yet to be released.

'La Mer des Reves' is an audio-visual which takes a behind the scenes look ai' 'Mike's involvement in film making. Made for the Antibes Festival, this interesting audio-visual had been shown previously only once in Britain (at BSoUF's February 1989 meeting) until CPEX 1989.

MIKE WONG

Mike Wong is an amateur underwater stills photographer, He began diving in 1984 and took up underwater photography in 1985. He won the Diver Trophy in BSoUP's Annual Best Beginner's Portfolio Competition in 1987, having been runner-up the previous year, and a Gold medal for the Best Colour Print in the Animal Life category at Brighton '87. Last year. Mike won the Dimitri Rubikoff Trophy and Gold and Bronze medals in the Macro category and the Hans Hass Trophy and a Gold medal for the Best Colour Slide at Seaview 188 in AntWerp. This year he was the overall winner at Ocean Expo 189 in Florida with a photograph of a Big Eye (see page 19 in IN FOCUS No. 31) and recently came first in category 3 in Tauchen's sixth photo contest with a photograph of a Hawkfish.

Mike spends as much of his free time as he can underwater - shooting slide film, particularly to produce audio-visuals. Diving off the Seychelles provides the setting for 'Amirante Islands', whilst 'Underwater World' features images from the Egyptian Red Sea, Maldives and Seychelles. Both seven minute audio-visuals have only been shown once previously (at BSoUP's August 1988 meeting). Mike was present at CPEX 189 to introduce and show his two audiovisuals.

BSoUP IMAGE

In addition to the Festival of films, audio-visuals and photographic workshops, BSoUP mounted an impressive display of prints by members. This was the largest display ever mounted at Crystal Palace, covering all eight panels of the Society's exhibition stand and including a selection of very recent winning images.

The Society is extremely grateful to all of the photographers/ Cinematographers for their presentations and to Kevin and Maggie Cullimore, Jim Eldridge, Brian Humphreys.' Lee Kemp, Mike and Jan Maloney, Ventsi Pavlov, Viv Pearson, Brian and Linda Pitkin, Matthew Ruglys, Benny Sutton, Alison Terry, Ian Turner, Percy Williams, Mike Wong and Mark De'ath and his staff at Crystal Palacp for invaluable help over the weekend. Thanks are ilso due to the BSAC, for the loan of Jack McKenney's films, and to Bernard Eaton, Mary Eccles and Ceta Piper of Diver Magazine.

Reproduced from in focus 32. (Apr-May. 1989)


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