Australian sea lion, Hopkins Island, South Australia
In the scuba diving world, it’s become a ubiquitous story. In fact, it has even become one of those memes touted and displayed on proud travelers’ Facebook walls as a badge of honor, a personal history checked off, a feat to never look back on or regret. “Quit your job, buy a ticket, move to an island, get a tan, fall in love, never return….” The clever mantra is actually owned and trademarked by Island Company, a brand aimed at selling a coveted lifestyle appeal through clothing and trinkets. But for many a corporate-workhorse-turned-sea-monkey, this train of thought is a personal success story. And for our DPG Photographer of the Week, Francesca Diaco, I’m guessing she wouldn’t be too eager to trade back her life of travel, photography, and diving for her old advertising job in Manhattan.
Great white shark, Neptune Islands, South Australia
I had the pleasure of meeting Francesca a few months ago on Roatán, Honduras as we were both back for a bite of nostalgic bliss. It turns out that we have both spent time living there, and were seemingly each sucked into the charm of island living: snorkeling for exercise, sunset chatter over Flor de Caña (local water) at Sundowners, baleadas (the Honduran version of a burrito, sort of) to preserve the purse strings, and of course, tinkering with the cameras and the craft of underwater photography.
Manta ray, Dampier Strait, Raja Ampat, Indonesia
Still, after living on an island for a while, especially as a blossoming underwater photographer, you tend to come down with a bout of island fever. For Francesca, the alluring subject matter around Southeast Asia and the South Pacific was enough to make her pack her bags and head off for several years of guiding, teaching, and refining her photography skills.
Susan’s Reef, Kimbe Bay, Papua New Guinea
Today, with more experience and fine tuning under her belt, Francesca’s work reveals an immense dedication to technicalities, persistence, and determination. She has developed not only a style, but also an instinct for learning dive sites, animal behavior, and lunar timing in order to capture subjects like a frogfish with eggs—for such a find is not merely fortuitous. And obviously, switching seamlessly between different photographic lenses, she has managed to create a vast portfolio of stunning images.
And so, with the obvious tan, a long-term love, and a will to keep on truckin’, Francesca is, I believe, the Island Company’s mantra realized.
Kilma Steps, Puerto Galera, Philippines
Pulau Yanggefo, Raja Ampat, Indonesia
Psychedelic frogfish with eggs, Ambon, Indonesia
Sargassum frogfish, Batanta, Raja Ampat, Indonesia
Juvenile lionfish, Puerto Galera, Philippines
False clown anemonefish, Sebete, Indonesia
Soft coral, Batanta, Raja Ampat, Indonesia
The lovely Francesca with her amazing tan!
To see more of Francesca's work, check out her website www.francescadiaco.com.