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Groovy Aussie artist and diver Naomi Gittoes explores oceans of consciousness. Dig?



Art and text by Naomi Gittoes

It’s a pleasure and honor to share with you through words and images. My name is Naomi Gittoes. I’m an artist and diver and I have spent a lifetime inspired by the ocean.

Originally from a very special beachside town called Bundeena in Australia, I have been fortunate enough to have grown in and around the ocean and lived all over the world exploring incredible underwater seascapes, from the Caribbean to the Indian and Pacific oceans.

At 20 years old I left Australia to become a divemaster and specialist diver diving on the island of Utila in Honduras, then pursued more advanced technical diving and cave diving living and working in Mexico and having the cenotes at my doorstep. Simultaneously, around 2011, I became very interested in free diving and began formal training to become an instructor in Dahab, Egypt, under the expert guidance of Linda Paganelli and Lotta Ericson.

I could write so many articles about diving! So, I want to consolidate it to this one. I’ll choose one topic! I would like to share with you about my work as an artist and designer and the incredible connection I have discovered between freediving, art, and spirituality.

Through my work I connect freediving and art with the ability to experience something greater than oneself. 

The creation and appreciation of art can tap into deep emotions, convey messages, and inspire us to see the world in new ways, and there is a deeply spiritual, mystical quality to my work that shows the relationship between tangible and visionary realms of experience.

The inspiration for my work comes from the ocean and its mysteries.

I create work that depicts the natural beauty, power, and fragility of life, as well as exploring realms of imagination and fantasy.

In turn, I hope for these works to inspire others to connect with all of life and the inner and outer realms of existence more deeply.

Many people from around the world are wearing the fins I have designed both the DiveR collection and my original custom made fins as well as the artwork on the eco fashion collection I have created.

These products carry with them a message to become advocates for ocean conservation and to find a deep and meaningful connection through the art and the playful nature of the soul.

As a freediver, I am excited to share the beauty and freedom that comes with exploring in a single breath.

As an artist, I am constantly seeking inspiration for my work. I have found that freediving provides me with a unique and unparalleled source of inspiration. 

One of the most inspiring aspects of freediving is the way it provides a way thousands to experience the world in a completely different way.

The colours, textures, and movement of the underwater world are unlike anything on land.

The way light filters through the water and illuminates the sea is truly magical.

The textures, geometry, and energy I experience in the natural world can be seen in the depictions painted in my designs. 

Photo by Cassie Jensen

I believe art can be a powerful tool to create positive change in this world.

 As free divers, our work is to become advocates for ocean conservation and awareness, this work can be deeply rewarding and is endlessly valuable. 

I have had the privilege of experiencing thousands of hours underwater creating a career as a professional diver.

To honor the connection I have with the ocean and its treasures, I share my work with the world in many ways. I have worked with conservation movements and have collaborated with divers and ocean advocates all over the world with a similar vision to protect, educate, and inspire through our ocean and its diversity. 

As we face a growing crisis in our oceans, it is more important than ever that we use art as a means of raising awareness and advocating for conservation.

More of my work can be seen on my social media pages and website with stories about projects past, present and future. 

Thank you and Blessings,
Naomi Gittoes 

All email enquiries welcome


Rainbow Caves

Spanish-born cave diver and underwater photographer Joram Mennes Pine illuminates hidden karst color.




Text and images by Joram Mennes Pine.

Colors are my theme; I try to bring out the colors in post-production, but also white balance on camera every dive. Caves are dark, but if you bring a ton of light and use them well, you can get some amazing RAW files. Then, in post, I do like to play with color grading and use the available editing programs to bring out the best in them.

My concept is to find unique places to shoot, and try and imagine the picture before it is set up by looking at the passages and placing lights in the best possible ways for the camera to be able to capture the scene.

Sometimes it works; for others, I go back a second time and recreate it in a better way. Many of my photos are shot on the fly, but for some, if I’ve been there before and already have an idea about the place, I still decide angles and positioning of divers in the moment. It’s hard tasks to communicate and hoping the results come out.

The diver gives perspective and, as such, needs to pop out. Back light helps the camera to capture light as it is facing the lens, and the diver blocks the hotspot; combining this effect adds drama and makes the eye search for the center of attention in a photo. I try to, in post, dim that point and bring out shadows to even out the image, giving the audience a sense of mystery.

My favorite part is being down there in the caves—the whole experience of going in these amazing places and not knowing what the outcome will be. Over the years diving the Cenotes, I never stop being amazed by the natural beauty of these places, as if they’re asleep and waiting for divers to enjoy them as one swims down to these unique places. Once lit up, they seem to be alive, full of highlights, shadows, colors, and inspiring geology: They become incredibly photogenic.

Trying to capture different and unique angles in caves with no light, is a bit of a trial and error game. Having full control of the scene and being able to place light does not make it easier—it actually means more work, more back and forth, corrections, and a bit of luck to hide the lights well. The outcome can be sometimes great; other times, well … part of the learning process.

Cave diving by itself is already a challenge, and it’s not for everyone. Communication must be clear, precise, and without hesitation on a normal dive, so transmitting hand signals and positioning divers I would say is the hardest part. So prior to the dive, a long briefing must be done and, even then, nothing is obvious underwater. So mostly on a one-day photoshoot, I prefer to do two dives since, on the interval, I can advise divers about the small details to improve and try and get more creative on the second dive. The best part is every dive can be a new opportunity to create a unique image for the clients.

I think the hardest thing to understand about cave photography is how much time it takes to get to the places one wants to shoot at. In the world today, the newer generations seem to think everything can be done fast and that all is easy. Underestimating the background of diving, how many years are spent roaming these caves, learning about them, collecting data and being consistent about repeating paths to search for images.

It’s really important to realize how fragile caves are. The time to take a photo is a time ticking bomb; the more you stay in a place, the more the caves suffer. A sentence a friend told me once, “The best photo is the next photo you take,” does not apply to the caves as percolation from bubbles can mean a lost image. One must stay out of frame beforehand, set up fast, think fast, and take photos as well as you can before you must move on. The more popular caves give you more time to shoot; in the more remote caves, it’s sometimes not even worth stopping and one must shoot in the moment.

Placing the lights, I always choose the ground I will disturb the least, or if there are any marks already, use them to not make more. Approach in the most careful way, be gentle placing lights, and always see above what my bubbles can damage. Conservation of the caves is the priority when going to capture images. I was offered to go shoot in Cenote Doggy once, and declined; for me, this cave is too nice to even attempt taking photos there. I have not been there for years now, as already when swimming there all I remember is how delicate the formations were and how fast they broke with bubbles. Too delicate for me to go and disturb the peace down there.


Born in Formentera, Spain in the Balearic Islands, Joram Mennes has been diving since 1998. He became an open water scuba instructor (OWSI) in 2001 and worked in Ibiza for a few years as a summer job. He moved to Tulum Mexico in 2006 where he was introduced to the cenotes, and then spent several years traveling and working in the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Costa Rica, Panama, Trinidad and Tobago. In 2010 Joram decided to return to Playa del Carmen, Mexico and began his cave training. He picked up a DSLR camera in 2015 and began his photographic journey learning how to take photos in the cave environment and perfecting his technique. In the process he learned how to shoot amazing vistas in huge chambers and find unique places to stop and take a photo, capturing natural light, hydrogen sulfide clouds and haloclines amongst the huge speleothems. His gear includes Sony A1 with Nauticam Housing and an 8.5 Acrylic Dome, a Sony 16-35mm F2.8 Canon, and a 8-15mm Sigma 12-24mm F2.8.

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