Q&A By Joseph Tepper
Most determined underwater photographers start with actually taking pictures. But not Lia Barrett. Before she had a camera of her own, this underwater-photographer-in-the-making set to copy the images with a set of watercolors.
Today, Lia’s photography has appeared in publicatons from all over the world. From stealing mini-bottles of alcohol on long flights to assignments to dumping off her heavy camera on an innocent diver when she just wants to swim, Lia dishes it all in this Snapshot.
Camera: Canon 5D Mark II and III.
“Why two cameras you ask? Mainly because I keep flooding cameras and thus always like to have a backup. But I take a Buddhist approach to cameras by trying not to get too attached. Although, obviously, that is more easily said than done!”
“With the Mark III housing, I, a person who has always been scared of video, am actually finding myself pushing that awesome large red button and swimming around like a videographer.”
Latest Underwater Photo Obsession: Freedivers. Hands down.
“I am obsessed with photographing them. They can just do whatever you tell them to do underwater, and look graceful while doing it."
Bane of Your Photographic Existence: My overweight luggage and inability to pack strategically.
“And then there’s my tragic, unwelcome affinity for flooding housings. “
Favorite (current) Shot: Freedivers sitting in chairs with sharks overhead.
“Everyone thinks I “photoshopped” it—it was hell on Earth to coordinate. Hanging on a loose mooring line doing an 11-minute deco stop with pumping current, a table with a lamp and a strobe hanging off of it (attached with duct tape), a large camera, and a bag of props is no easy feat.”
Last Destination: Roatan, Honduras
“I photographed the Caribbean Cup, a freediving competition, which was incidentally my first. What did I learn from the experience? Well, definitely that freedivers must have a few screws loose in order to be crazy enough to do what they do.”
Long Flight Entertainment: iPad Solitaire
Since I’ve retired from stealing airplane bottles from the drink cart, I relish in a good old fashioned game of digital iPad solitaire.”
Editing Software: Aperture and the occasional boot up of Photoshop.
Guilty Underwater Photo Pleasure: Handing over my camera.
In taking advantage of newfound liberty, swimming around like an idiot with my arms and legs flailing about and then running from said person when they try to give my camera back to me.
Your Inspiration: The thousands of photos I have drooled over by other photographers since about the age of ten.
“I used to copy underwater photos by doing watercolors of them when I was a child, and thus spent a lot of time studying the work of many of the greats in our discipline.”
Wide-angle or Macro: Wide-angle.
“I chalk it up to laziness. Macro takes a lot of patience, and my regular diving buddies are entirely over waiting for me. Plus, I am digging larger animal interaction, and when I shoot macro, I really don’t see much on a dive.”
Dream Destination: Antarctica,
“I despise being cold, but I will for sure suck it up if anyone wants to send me there!”
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