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Alert Diver is the dive industry’s leading publication. Featuring DAN’s core content of dive safety, research, education and medical information, each issue is a must-read reference, archived and shared by passionate scuba enthusiasts. In addition, Alert Diver showcases fascinating dive destinations and marine environmental topics through images from the world’s greatest underwater photographers and stories from the most experienced and eloquent dive journalists in the business.

IMAGING SHOOTER 92 |

IMAGING SHOOTER 92 | SUMMER 2016

S H O O T E R : KURT AMSLER PHOTOS BY KURT AMSLER TEXT BY STEPHEN FRINK Kurt Amsler may have inherited the photographer’s gene from his father, an alpine and outdoor photographer, but the inspiration for his eventual career as a marine photographer came from famed Austrian photographer and cinematographer Hans Hass. The year was 1958, and young Amsler was a child in landlocked Switzerland. By chance he picked up a copy of Among the Corals and the Sharks. The words and especially the photos that Hass took for this, his second book (published in Austria in 1941), were transformational for the young boy. While on location in Bonaire, Hass had no rebreather, and the Aqua-Lung had not yet been invented. So he went underwater as William Beebe had described in his 1932 article “A Wonderer Under the Sea” for National Geographic magazine: with a homemade diving helmet. Amsler did much the same for his first underwater adventures in Lake Zurich. With a helmet cobbled together from wood and metal fittings and the help of a friend pumping air to him from above, Amsler could go as deep as 20 feet and stay for as long as he could stand the cold or his friend had the stamina to pump air to him. He could breathe underwater, he could see the fish, and, most important, he could dream of a life of ocean exploration. When Amsler was in high school, his father bought him his first real gear for diving: a pair of fins and a mask. Now that he could see properly, the next step was to try to take photos underwater. After all, he had learned photography from his dad and had been helping him in their home darkroom since he was 10 years old. With a Leica camera housed in the bladder of a soccer ball and a bit of Plexiglas for a port, Amsler took his first underwater photo in 1959, thus embarking on a path he would follow for the next 57 years and beyond. Maldivian sunset at Ari Atoll, Maldives, in 2003 (Nikon D1X, Seacam housing) ALERTDIVER.COM | 93

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