Posted on Jun 26, 2018

    People Are Loving This Photographer's Unbelievably Cool Underwater Pictures

    Darling, it's better, down where it's wetter, take it from me.

    This is André Musgrove, a 21-year-old freediver and underwater photographer from Nassau, Bahamas.

    He takes the most incredible pictures and, of course, people love them. His Instagram account gets thousands of likes from fans.

    He's definitely the kind of person you'd want to take on holiday to help you with those 🔥🔥🔥 poses.

    But it's under the surface where Musgrove and his friends and close collaborators David Langlois and Sabine Banet really make the magic happen.

    Musgrove, 21, told BuzzFeed News: “I started getting into underwater photography about, I guess you could say, officially, two years ago. I’ve always had an interest in the ocean and I also had an interest in cameras. I grew up around the water – freediving and spearfishing – thanks to my dad.

    “I got into the photography aspect because none of my friends were there to actually see my adventures, so I always wanted a camera there so I could share the adventures I was having.”

    After leaving high school, Musgrove worked for a dive shop in its underwater photography lab, where he got experience working with film crews and shooting celebrities. Eventually, he decided to strike out on his own.

    "I love my job," he said. "I love it a lot: It's the combination of my two passions. I get to be in the water every day, living on a sailboat, and we have access to the water as much as we want. We can just roll off the side."

    Some of their favourite locations include Thunderball Grotto (the location of the James Bond film of the same name), the Sir Nicholas Nuttall Coral Reef Sculpture Garden off the coast of New Providence, and numerous wreckages that make ideal homes for marine wildlife.

    Musgrove says it takes a minimum of 45 minutes to capture the right shot and sometimes it takes up to three hours. And despite what people might think, he says, he doesn't photoshop any images – just a bit of colour correcting.

    As an experienced freediver, Musgrove rarely uses scuba equipment and relies on breath-holding instead.

    Musgrove, who has been spearfishing since the age of 8, actually prefers life under the surface: "I find walking on land uncomfortable sometimes," he said. "It's not like I'm tripping over things, I just prefer to be underwater as much as possible. It’s completely different from being on land, there is so much freedom – it gives the feeling of flight.

    "The sense of gravity is greatly reduced because of the water buoyancy and I love the animals, the marine life. How you can interact with them is so much different, to me, to the animals on land, especially when you factor in the limited amount of animal encounters on land in the Bahamas.

    "We don’t have any tigers or monkeys, or other animals that people consider pretty cool, but being underwater changes all that: sharks, turtles, stingrays, manta rays might come through. You see dolphins sometimes and all the different fish."

    His favourite sea creature is the spotted eagle ray, which grows to about 5 metres long with a wingspan of up to 3 metres, as well as different varieties of shark.

    "Our waters in the Bahamas are some of the clearest in the world. I can advocate that around the Exumas [an island chain in the Bahamas] have the most beautiful waters that I’ve ever swam in," he continued.

    "The geographical location and the limestone and minerals make it so clear. For an underwater photographer, it's perfect.

    "The Bahamas is also a shark sanctuary, so they come here for refuge and they’re protected, so for me that’s a big plus also, especially for photos."

    "Sharks have a bad misrepresentation usually through the media thanks to movies like Jaws, 47 Metres Down, and The Shallows," he added.

    "People believe the moment they step foot off the beach there's gonna be a shark there waiting to bite off your legs. The truth is they're more afraid of you than the opposite, basically.

    "When they have a cut, people think the shark is going to smell it. Sharks have no attraction to human blood; it’s not in their instincts to sense human blood and connect that with food. It's only fish blood or another marine animal."

    Musgrove says he has never had a bad experience during any of his dives: "No. Never. Nope. I’ve been in situations where you’re spearfishing and the shark might get really curious about your fish and start to bump you, but at no time have I ever felt threatened or afraid.

    "That simply comes from knowing the animal, looking for signs in its behaviour that tells you what you should and should not do. It's education and experience, basically."

    "The big dream for me is to travel around the world making creative content and creative concepts and also using my talents to be a voice for the voiceless, meaning the underwater world."

    He continued: "The animals can't speak, so I want to speak up for sharks, shark conservation, and marine conservation on the whole. If sharks could talk, what would they say? 'Stop shark finning!'

    "Shark fin soup is a popular meal in Asia and some other places and the sharks are only killed for the use of their fins then the rest of their body is completely wasted."

    Musgrove says he's also not "very fond of" man-made pollution that is causing significant damage to coral reefs around the world.

    "I see its impact every day. Every day we go out we see fishing lines on the coral, plastic bottles, and one thing I'm noticing more of is helium balloons that people might release at birthday parties and special events. Those go up in the air but eventually they have to come back down and they usually end up in the ocean," he said.

    "I don’t think people intentionally do it to harm the ocean, but I just think they're not aware."

    "There is so much entertainment to be had in putting on a mask and just taking a look under the water," Musgrove said. "You don't even need a snorkel, you don't need fins."

    Elizabeth Pears is a news editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

    Contact Elizabeth Pears at elizabeth.pears@buzzfeed.com.

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