Text and images by Jason Brown of BARDOPhotographic
🎶 Pre-dive clicklist: Enjoy The Silence by Depeche Mode 🎶
“Malta really is a photographer’s dream. A jewel in the Mediterranean sea, the island just oozes history and is magical in so many ways. There really is a photo opportunity on every street corner – I challenge any photographer not to be inspired by its stunning limestone streets and the golden hue radiated by its fortress-like buildings.”
“Rebreather Forum 4 kicked off in style with a magical reception sponsored by Visit Malta in the luxurious splendour of the Grand Excelsior Hotel. Drinks and a delicious range of canapés were consumed as delegates, speakers and vendors all rubbed shoulders to discuss the days ahead.”
“Photographing divers on a rocking boat is always fun – simply framing a shot can be challenging when you’re being pitched from side to side. You just have to go with it and move with the boat and hope your stomach remains strong! Feeling sea sick is never conducive to the creative process…”
“I’ve always had a fascination with rebreather technology and Rebreather Forum 4 offered an irresistible opportunity to geek out over some of the cool innovations on show. If I hadn’t have been shooting images, I would have jumped in for a try dive on one of a number of sidemount rebreathers available to try dive.”
“Attendees found plenty of time to visit the many vendor stands that lined the historic hallways of the University of Malta. The eclectic mix of exhibitors covered all the major rebreather manufacturers, training agencies and a good selection of companies brands showing off their latest wares. It was kit heaven!”
“Shooting images of speakers is always challenging. How do you make a procession of speakers look uniquely interesting? I try to capture their personalities and energy by watching and learning their body language. Every time I capture an image that truly encapsulates a speaker’s personality, I know that shot is in the bag.”
“Visitors were kept well fed and watered with regular breaks for refreshments and, of course, a full buffet lunch. The central courtyard proved particularly popular with attendees take the opportunity to mix and mingle in the open air. Stories were swapped, friendships built and business was done.”
“Events like Rebreather Forum 4 bring together all manner of people from across the globe, all united by a common passion – our love for diving. It’s wonderful to see how this shared passion is such a great unifier. For instant harmony, just add water!”
“What really makes working an event like Rebreather Forum 4 so much fun is the stuff you don’t see and the crazy team of people that make it all happen.”
“The final day included some brisk discussion as delegates poured over the consensus statements under the watchful, no-nonsense guidance of Professor Simon Mitchell. This truly was democracy in action as everyone was invited to contribute, regardless of background, affiliations and experience”
“Everyone loves a good party, right? Rebreather Forum 4 wasn’t just about the academic discussions – it was also a great opportunity to let your hair down and have some serious fun! Divers know how to party and we certainly didn’t let the side down.”
“The social side of Rebreather Forum 4 was a real highlight for many including myself. After so many years of lockdowns and isolation, being reunited with so many great diving friends and colleagues from across the globe was a real treat.”
Other stories by Jason Brown:
InDEPTH: Annotated Tekkie
An experienced trimix rebreather and cave diver certified through Global Underwater Explorers, Jason Brown is an accomplished commercial and underwater photographer whose work has graced the pages—and covers—of numerous magazines across the globe. An experienced writer, with over 30 years of experience writing engaging features for a diverse range of publications, Jason now focuses his writing and photographic talents on his life aquatic. Jason is actively involved in a number of high-profile dive industry events. He is one of the lead organisers of both the acclaimed EUROTEK Advanced Diving Conference and the award-winning TEKCamp diving masterclass event in the UK.
New Zealand-based ocean artist Mon illustrates the beauty and wonder of the undersea world.
All images and text by Mon.
My most recent dreamscape was inspired by an unforgettable dive near Seal Rocks in NSW, Australia. During that dive, I was surrounded by a breathtaking array of fish, sharks, and rays. The sheer diversity and abundance of marine life left a profound impression on me, and I knew I had to capture that experience in my art.
I’ve always been fascinated by the incredible diversity of marine life, and this fascination led me to want to share my knowledge and love for these creatures with others.
I’m primarily self-taught. I’ve been doing illustrations for as long as I can remember, but I started taking it more seriously around three years ago.
I draw my inspiration primarily from the ocean itself. The underwater world is an endless source of wonder and beauty, and I find inspiration in the mesmerizing colors, intricate patterns, and fascinating creatures that inhabit it
While I don’t have formal training as a naturalist, spending countless hours exploring the ocean and observing its fascinating ecosystems has allowed me to develop a deep appreciation for the intricate beauty and complexity of marine life.
The vibrancy of the colors in my illustrations is largely a reflection of the real-life underwater world I’ve had the privilege to explore. I often base my colors on actual images I’ve captured with my underwater camera.
Every dive is a fresh source of creative ideas.
Creating these collections allows me to not only showcase the beauty and uniqueness of each species but also contribute to a resource that can help others learn more about the underwater world.
One crucial aspect of my process is using photos I’ve taken as references. These images serve as a valuable resource for capturing the intricate details and features of the subject accurately and ensure that my artwork remains true to the beauty of the natural world.
I seek to evoke emotions of tranquility, wonder, and responsibility, inviting viewers to not only admire the creatures I depict but also take action to protect them and engage in sustainable activities that ensure the health of our marine ecosystems.
I’d like viewers to leave my illustrations with a heightened appreciation for the ocean’s beauty, a stronger connection to nature, and a greater sense of responsibility towards marine conservation.
Ultimately, I aspire to play a meaningful role in the intersection of art, ocean advocacy, and conservation, contributing to a sustainable future for our oceans through my work.
Art is not just a passion for me; it’s my full-time job, and I feel truly fortunate to be able to make a living doing what I love.
Hailing from the picturesque shores of New Zealand, Mon’s connection with the sea is at the core of her creative journey. She’s not just an artist; she’s a free diver, a scuba dive instructor, and an adept spearfisherwoman. Over the past 8 years, Mon has explored the world’s oceans, diving into their mysteries and capturing their beauty. Mon specialises in marine illustrations, crafting captivating artworks that transport viewers beneath the waves. Guided by the visual references she captures with her underwater camera and enriched by her personal encounters with marine life, Mon’s art comes to life with authenticity and depth. She is also an advocate for sustainable spearfishing practices. She utilizes her art as a potent medium to raise awareness about the importance of responsible fishing.