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Famed Underwater Photographer Ernie Brooks Passes Away
By Joseph Tepper, November 18, 2020 @ 11:45 AM (EST)


Underwater photography icon Ernie Brooks has died. He was 85.

A pillar in the diving industry, Ernie’s career and its impact spanned decades. He graduated from the Brooks Institute of Photography—a school founded by his father—and went on to serve as its president for nearly three decades. Throughout this tenure, Ernie supported the cause of photographic education by partnering with various organizations and international conventions.

Ernie will live on through his photography. Designing his first housing from scratch for a black and white Leica camera at age 19, he never moved into color photography. The monochrome master used just 21 delicate shades of gray to create some of the most revered black and white images. 

“The delicate shades of gray have the ability to capture a sense of wonderment or freeze action in the contrasts between highlight and shadows,” Mr. Brooks told Scuba Diver Through The Lens magazine in a 2013 interview. “This grace, beauty, and simplicity creates perfection and a lasting impression on the viewer.”

The passing of an industry legend has produced an outpouring of remembrance and admiration for Ernie’s life.  

“Beloved Ernie, what you have seen in the sea you have transformed into art that will live forever,” wrote National Geographic photographer David Doubilet. “You have led the way. You are loved.”

“Ernie Brooks has taught us to see the colors between the black and white,” penned Ocean Geographic’s Michael Aw. “He has shown us the meaning of kindness, gentleness, he showed us the beauty of our ocean and the beauty of humanity.”

DPG sends its thoughts and sympathies to Mr. Brooks’ family and friends. He is already missed.
 

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