Below the ocean’s surface lies a world of unknown territory. Beautiful yet fragile ecosystems, untouched beauty. The unfamiliarity feeds our curiosity. From the whitecaps of high swells, to the calming depths of blue water, many of us do not have the opportunity to see the beauty below the surface.
Living alongside raging seas and boisterous sea lions intrigued Jeremy Koreski from a young age. He often wondered what lies beneath, which stimulated his curiosity.
Since the start of his career, Koreski’s interest in underwater photography has grown ever since he purchased his Aquatech water housing, for shooting in the surf. With the growing popularity of sightseeing, free diving, and spearfishing on Vancouver Island, he has captured plenty of unique experiences through the lens.
“Taking photos underwater is so calming and quiet compared to shooting surfing in a chaotic line-up. It’s nice to [relax] and mix it up.”
But his passion does not come without difficulty. Aside from gearing up in a wetsuit for cold water, and handling bulky expensive gear, Koreski states his biggest challenge is “holding [his] breath and concentrating on staying submerged… [while] trying to focus on taking photos”.
As the audience, we do not often think about the risks taken to achieve certain shots. Koreski weights himself with lead and prepares to hold his breath in extremely frigid water. All of that while being surrounded by 300 sea lions and trying to keep focus on the photography.
Luckily, he realized his new art form required more safety techniques. Koreski has taken the PFI (Performance Freediving International) intermediate course, which significantly increases his breath hold and understanding of the risks involved in underwater breath hold photography (like shallow water black outs, use of the buddy system, and limits).
In preparation of his shoots, Koreski sets the exposure settings during his test dives. He takes into account the different times of year have changes in visibility, colour, and lighting for visual perception.
Some of his most memorable moments include shooting underwater photography in the blue water offshore from Vancouver Island.
"The lighting and visbility out there is unreal."
Interacting with wildlife is another facet to Koreski’s style, whether it is bull kelp swaying with the current, or playful harbour seals dancing around him. While having positive experiences with underwater wildlife, Koreski feels when he is submerged, wildlife can relate to him more, and in turn, is more interested than aggressive.
Currently, Koreski is working on a few underwater photography series, shooting mainly in medium format film. In the future, he plans to show some of the work, which may give admirers more insight of what is beneath the surface. To stay up to date with his projects, follow him on Instagram and visit www.jeremykoreski.com to view his galleries online.