Girl from Aerborek Village, Raja Ampat
More than once, I have been approached at dive shows by wide-eyed members of the public offering an observation along the lines of the following: “The photographers here, they’re so nice! I wasn’t expecting it!” Obviously, someone is out there giving us photographers a bad reputation because I think we’re awesome. Perhaps a tad cocky, but at least approachable. No? Well truthfully, at least in the underwater world, the trigger-happy folks seem to be a jovial and thoughtful bunch, more goofy than cocky, and more awkward than mean. But, fruitless debate stirring aside, there seems to be at least one shooter who stands out from the mold of awkwardness, and from what I gather, you’d be hard pressed to find a more fun, kind, and outgoing photographer than Kerri Bingham.
Flying flamboyant cuttlefish, Lembeh Strait
Kerri refers to herself as the “logistics and entertainment” half of the working duo/Indo exploration extraordinaire that is Keri Bingham and Hergen Spalink. The two run trips, manage liveaboards and dive centers, and have recently teamed up with Burt Jones and Maurine Shimlock of Secret Sea Visions to bring divers the ultimate group travel experience. Kerri’s duties include making sure guests are happy, which means encouraging them to join the “Floating Bar 2.0” (the original Floating Bar 1.0 credit goes to Chris Newbert), instigating “Wetsuit Beach Parties,” and will even go so far as to (wo)man the coffee machine, ensuring that individuals are fully caffeinated for a day of Indo galavanting (probably what propels the cycle of floating bars and wetsuit beach parties).
Swimming pontohi, Aerborek Jetty, Raja Ampat
And though this future barista (when she hangs the fins up) can make a solid cup of joe, she can also take a smashing photo or two. Being a connoisseur of Indonesia specialties means Kerri can do the lens switcheroo between macro and wide angle. Whether she’s charming the gills off of critters in Lembeh Strait (her fourth favorite place to dive) or dodging the current gods at Cannibal Rock in Komodo (ultimate favorite dive site), Kerri can turn a trick with her images, combining experience, familiarity with conditions, and a natural knack for shooting.
Coconut octopus in a bottle, Aer Bajo 3, Lembeh Strait
But you won’t always find her face planted in a viewfinder. No, this lover of leading groups (that’s a gift) finds honest joy in guiding others. You might find her consulting on how to trim down weights and be a less destructive diver; leaving her camera on board and holding hands of guests who might be just a tad afraid of a two-knot current at Castle Rock in Komodo; modeling for fellow photographers; and doing whatever possible to ensure guest satisfaction and safety.
Goby in the blue, Lembeh Strait
Frogfish in plastic cup, Aer Bajo 3, Lembeh Strait
Ladybug amphipods, Cannibal Rock, Komodo
School of sweetlips, West Mansuar, Raja Ampat
Barracuda, Melissa's Garden, Raja Ampat
Blue water mangroves, Misool, Raja Ampat
The calm before the storm: The children of Aerborek Jetty get ready to play with the photographers
Kerri shoots a giant manta in Raja Ampat
To see more images from some of Kerri’s favorite dive spots, check out her website, gotmuck.com.