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Life of a 13-Year Old Underwater Photographer
By Garri Emmanuel Tadlip, August 6, 2015 @ 11:26 AM (EST)

Hello, I’m Garri Emmanuel Tadlip, but you can call me “Iggy”.  I am now 13 years old, living in the beautiful city of Cebo in the Philippines.  I started diving three years ago with a family friend divemaster and quickly received my PADI Junior Open Water certification.

Soon, it was time for me to get my own gear, so my dad searched Ebay for a good deal. He found a female tourist who was just here in the Philippines for a couple of days and looking to sell all of her dive equipment. Luckily, she was petite so the size really fit me well. I was pleasantly suprised when she included her Olympus point-and-shoot with all the other gear, and I've been photographing marine life ever since.

Getting Started
Within a year of getting my first camera, I was invited to participate in a local shootout competition called SNUPS (Splash Nudi Underwater Photographers Society). I didn’t expect to win anything, but was thrilled to take first place in the wide-angle category and second place in portfolios. This brought me a step closer to a more professional setup, as I won a compact underwater housing for a Canon G7x, a Z240 Inon strobe, and Inon LE550 Lights.  So, my dad just need to buy the camera and the arms for me to get the compact set a go!

Underwater photography is a passion for me.  I realize that I need to continually hone my skills, so training by participating in workshops, and gaining more knowledge and meeting many more experts is a necessity.

Another challenge is time management, since while pursuing my underwater photography is my passion, completing my education with a bachelor’s degree is my dream.  I know that I can accomplish these goals and meet the challenge with good time management.  Of course, I am at a young age, so I would like to pleasantly enjoy growing up while at the same time remain focused on my passion and dream.


Early Success
My very first accomplishment in the diving world was getting the Junior Open Water Certification at age 10, because it allowed me to start appreciating and enjoying the amazing ocean life.  Of the awards that I’ve received so far, the experience of receiving the first trophy at SNUPS and the incredible amazement of the participants, seeing a young boy as the winner was a most memorable moment.  

A more recent achievement is the recognition as the youngest participant among international divers at an event in Anilao, Batangas in November 2014.  The Philippines Department of Tourism for Region 7 designated me as the “Youngest Ambassador for Marine Conservation.” All these accomplishments would not have happened were it not for good mentors, supportive family and friends, and a proud school.


Growing Forward

My grandma, who is an educator, often motivates my quest for learning by the saying, “Learn something new everyday”.  This has had a positive influence on me when I started diving and underwater photography.  My grade school education is similarly guided by my grandma’s words.  In my acquisition of new knowledge and skills today and in the future, I will be intense in listening, observing, asking questions about matters I don’t understand. In other words, I will be an active participant in my learning of underwater photography.  I will be open to new ideas and trends.  All these will help me improve and grow to become the best I can be.
I envision underwater photography as a passionate interest that will occupy my life together with the profession that I intend to pursue. Right now, I am exploring the choices of being a medical doctor or marine biologist. Whichever field or profession I may eventually pursue, my love and passion for underwater photography will remain part of my life.  This love I like to share with others so that our oceans will always be safe and protected from harmful things.  For after all, man on land should live in harmony with life in the water.  




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