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David Doubilet

Principal photographer

One of the world’s leading underwater photographers, David Doubilet has shot more than 60 stories for National Geographic magazine since 1972. Doubilet’s undersea reporting has taken him to the Red Sea, Pearl Harbor, the South Pacific and beyond. He has captured groundbreaking images of great white sharks, flashlight fish, shark-repelling flounders, creatures of the undersea desert, fluorescent coral, WW II wrecks and much more.

A consummate artist, award-winning photographer David Doubilet began photographing underwater environments at the age of 12 in the cold, green seas off the northern New Jersey coast. He used a Brownie Hawkeye camera wrapped in a clear plastic bag, and he’s been behind the lens ever since. Doubilet’s first work for National Geographic Magazine was published in 1972. Since then, as a Contract Photographer for NGM, he has produced over sixty stories for the magazine, in recent years adding author to his credit line of photographer. His warm-water work has taken him throughout Indonesia, Micronesia, Australia and New Guinea in the Pacific; Sri Lanka and the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean; and all over the Caribbean. The Red Sea, his favorite “underwater studio”, has produced at least ten different stories for the magazine. Cold-water work has immersed him off the coast of England; in Scotland’s Loch Ness, the Okavango in Africa; into the teeming waters of the Galapagos; around the mysterious shores of Japan; and deep in Canada’s Northwest Pacific. He has also worked off the entire eastern coast of the United States — from Maine to the Florida Keys — and California. Doubilet’s photography has won many prizes including in 1969 the prestigious “Sara Prize and International Award” given by Mondo Sommerso Magazine in Italy. He was the first American and the youngest person to win this award. In 1975 he was named “Diver of the Year” by the Boston Sea Rovers, one of the diving world’s most honorable organizations. He has also received several honorable mentions by the National Press Photographer’s Association over the last decade. In 1993 he was honored in France by winning first place trophy in the Professional Category of an international contest sponsored by C.M.A.S. (World Underwater Federation); and by appearing as Guest of Honor at the 20th World Festival of Underwater Photography in Cap D’Antibes. Although most of Doubilet’s photographic time is spent working for the National Geographic Society and its diverse publications, his work has also appeared worldwide in other magazines and books. His commercial work includes several ad campaigns for clients such as Kodak, Fa Soap, Vitaspa, Seagrams, and Microsoft. He did the still photography for two films — THE DEEP and SPLASH. A popular speaker and instructor, Doubilet has appeared on the “Today Show” on NBC-TV and is in demand for his lectures and slide shows at universities, underwater film festivals and clubs (the Explorer’s Club and the Harvard Club both in NYC) around the world. About his work for National Geographic, Doubilet says, “My job description is to make a picture of a place no one has ever seen before…or to make a picture that’s different of a place that everybody’s seen before.”