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Dive Photo Guide


Photographer of the Week – XJ Toh
By Matthew Sullivan, June 21, 2024 @ 08:00 AM (EST)

A sea elephant escorting its clutch of eggs through the blackness, Anilao, Philippines

Shooters familiar with the work of our latest DPG Photographer of the Week, Xing Jie Toh, may well know him as a successful Singapore-based commercial concept photographer. But XJ—as he’s better known—also happens to be an award-winning underwater photographer who has made a name for himself by bagging “Photo of the Year” in the competition attached to Asia’s biggest dive show, ADEX, in his home country of Singapore.

XJ’s photography journey began by shooting international events, including Taiwanese singer Jay Chou’s “The Invincible 2” world tour, Coldplay concerts, and UFC martial arts fights. He has also directed with industry giants such as BBDO, Gyro and VMLY&R. Using these experiences in art direction and photography, XJ has developed a reputation for challenging norms and coming up with innovative concepts for his clients.

His skills in that realm have certainly translated well to his underwater images. As you might expect, XJ’s passion for marine subjects is especially strong for the strange and alien world of blackwater photography, where the stark visual aesthetic very much mirrors his commercial work. His portfolio here, which includes his two ADEX winning images, showcases highly sought-after blackwater subjects such as jellyfish with crustacean or cephalopod hitchikers, female paper nautiluses, and larval wonderpuses. Without doubt, this young Singaporean talent is one to watch—not only in underwater imaging competitions, but also in the wider creative space.

A small goby perched perfectly in a cup coral, Anilao, Philippines

One of the most sought-after blackwater subjects, a larval wonderpus, Anilao, Philippines

Any port in a storm, as they say… a female paper nautilus that found a piece of trash to ride on, Anilao, Philippines

ADEX Photo of the Year 2022: A juvenile fish riding on the bell of a stunning jellyfish, Anilao, Philippines

A beautiful little goby sitting in the spotlight on a coral head, Anilao, Philippines

A diver observes a massive giant frogfish, Anilao, Philippines

Spinner dolphins cruise just beneath the surface, South Africa

Stretched out completely, a manta shows off all of its belly, Bali, Indonesia

A tiny crab blends in as it chills out, Anilao, Philippines

ADEX Photo of the Year 2023: A small octopus rides on the bell of a jellyfish, Anilao, Philippines

A ghost goby perfectly positioned on a sea squirt, Anilao, Philippines

A female paper nautilus sitting pretty on some plant matter, Anilao, Philippines

A small jelly with an even smaller amphipod hitchhiker, Anilao, Philippines

To see more of XJ Toh’s underwater work, please give him a follow on Instagram. You can also see his impressive commercial work on his website, www.uglycarrot.studio.


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