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Symphony of the Ocean

2015-06-04
William Tan is the first violin in the Singapore Symphony Orchestra. But he is also a professional underwater photographer. He specialises in macro photography of marine creatures and his work has been frequently published in magazines and books.

He confesses that as a violinist the music he played in a concert before he went diving would affect his underwater photography. For example after performing "Rite of Spring" his mind would be filled with images of cruelty. He would shoot pictures of fish devouring fish. If the music he played previously was mellifluous, he would shoot pictures that were pleasant and sweet. He feels that music gives him a sense of colour and allows him to project his emotions onto his subjects. As a result the pictures would have more life and not just be flatly two-dimensional.

After doing underwater photography for 17 to 18 years he felt he had come to a bottleneck. He had seen and done all there was to be seen and done. He had been unable to do any new work. He went to Brunei two years ago and discovered a completely new environment which allows him to give free reins to his imagination. So he has chosen to come to Brunei again to do some new work, to challenge himself.

Brunei is not a hot diving destination. The diving industry has only started developing in the last few years. William has chosen Brunei because the fish there has not come into contact with divers much and is therefore more approachable. With ship wrecks, coral reef, and drilling rigs as background William is infused with excitement for the underwater world of Brunei.

Sea World Odyssey - Through My Lens

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Underwater photography came into being only a few decades ago. Its growth was hindered by the limitation of the available photographic equipment. However, with the development of science and technology, underwater photography has become a popular pastime. Most diving enthusiasts bring a camera with them when they go diving to take pictures of the colourful underwater world.

Although underwater photography is no longer an elitist pursuit, but there are still very few professional underwater photographers; and there are even fewer Chinese in this industry.

The five episodes of “Sea World Odyssey – Through My Lens” document the work of five Chinese underwater photographers from Asia. We followed them to Indonesia, Palau, Fiji, Brunei, and China, diving with them into the colourful underwater world to share their exciting experience in encountering amazing marine life and ancient cities that have been submerged under water.
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