underwater photographers must fondly dream of representing
their country at the World Championship event. I was therefore
extremely flattered to be informed in August by BSoUP's Chairman,
Brian Pitkin, that I had been selected with Les Kemp for this
year's event, only the third in the series.
competition was due to be held in Milazzo, Sicily, between
the 19-24th September, so we had only 4-5 weeks to prepare.
It was at this stage that the daunting nature of the event
began to dawn on us! Each country was to field two underwater
photographers, two underwater models and two assistants. We
therefore immediately secured the services of two attractive
young ladies, Diana Davies from Torquay and Amanda Levick
from Eastbourne, to act as models, whilst our equally attractive
wives, Sussana and Diana were enrolled as assistants. We expected
that models and props would be used extensively, as the seas
around Milazzo offer very little in the way of marine life.
British and Irish teams joined forces in London for the journey
to Sicily, which was uneventful once we had coped with the
surprises of the security staff at Gatwick at seeing so much
odd equipment and even stranger props. Once we arrived we
found that the organisation was typically Mediterranean, which
meant that most timings were open ended!
Day 1 of the competition the photographers were allowed a
reconnaissance dive, without cameras, to identify possible
locations for the next two days. Some local teams had been
in the area for the preceding week and therefore had a shrewd
idea of the desired areas, which they vehemently guarded throughout
the event! Les Kemp and I found sites fairly close to each
other, so we would be able to render assistance if necessary.
photographer was given four rolls of film from which to produce
a portfolio of six different images, one of which had to be
an experimental technique and not more than one a straight
macro shot. Time for the two sessions was restricted to five
hours each and each photographer had only one fifteen litre
bottle of air. Careful planning for each shot and lens change
etc was therefore essential.
2 dawned sunny and calm as the thirty-two photographers from
sixteen countries carried their masses of equipment down to
the beach to board their individual boats with models and
assistants. The armada then set off for the competition area,
where a signal was given for the event to commence. There
followed a mad dash to the various sites. Les Kemp unfortunately
found that the Italian team had already laid claim to his
chosen location! For my part, we found that our site was now
beset with a one knot current, where it had been totally slack
at the same time the day before! However, there was no time
to stop and think, so we pushed ahead with the planned shots.
from the first session were returned in the evening, so that
we were able to judge successes and failures and plan for
the next day. Unfortunately Neptune had decided to throw a
spanner in the works and produced a strong wind on Day 2 which
excluded all the original sites. The armada therefore proceeded
to reserve sites, which were grossly inferior and heavily
silted. A large number of competitors descended on three or
four locations and the requirement to keep a radius of twenty
metres between teams was quickly forgotten in the search for
at least one reasonable shot. The day ended with with most
of the photographers feeling thoroughly dejected and disappointed.
never-the-less made our selections of six slides and submitted
them to the jury. We had the rest of the day to relax and
ponder what the jury would be looking for as subject matter
and techniques. Some of us spent the time watching the World
record holding deep free diver Pippin make an abortive attempt
to reach 94 metres on one breath, which nearly ended in tragedy
for him. This left us to reflect on the wisdom and reasoning
for such attempts as we prepared for the gala evening and
prize giving. The results were in fact leaked before our arrival
at the theatre, which rather took the edge off our anticipation.
All of the competitors portfolios were projected prior to
the official announcements and awards.
st Frederic Di Meglio, France
2nd Marc Debatty, France
3rd Alberto Muropelliconi, Italy
Di Meglio France
Frederic Di Meglio and Marc Debatty, France
2nd Francesco Taccmi and Alberto Muropelliconi, Italy
3rd Andreas Koffka and Milan Czapay, Germany
no laurels for Great Britain on this occasion, although we
were informed that the standard of entry was extremely close
to the winners. The whole event was a unique and enjoyable
experience for all of us and our thanks go to BSoUP and the
BSAC for sponsoring our travel expenses and to West Wet Suits,
AP Valves and Sea and Sea for their kind support with diving
equipment. BSoUP members must now start planning for some
stunning images for the next event in 1992.
representatives to the CMAS World Championships, LES KEMP
and MARK WEBSTER, were two of several accomplished underwater
photographers nominated by BSoUP's Committee for consideration,
pending availability. Not surprisingly, given the short notice
of the date of the event, most of the nominees were unable
to participate due to work commitments or holiday plans.
and the BSAC generously sponsored the cost of flights to Sicily
for the photographers and their models. Accommodation, meals
and diving were kindly provided by the Italian Federation.
KEMP will be interviewed by Radio Sussex on Wednesday 17 October
at 7.30 p.m. following his recent participation with MARK
WEBSTER in the CMAS World Championship. Ed.]
from in focus 38 by kind
permission of Mark Webster.