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Underwater Photographer Highlight: Kirill Egorov

Underwater explorer, instructor, and recovering physicist Kirill Egorov documents the underwater world and teammates with beautiful images. He is not the only artisté in his family.

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Kirill Egorov is an avid underwater explorer. He has been part of Global Underwater Explorers (GUE) Mars the Magnificent missions, the USS Atlanta, and the Battle of the Egadi project in Italy to name just a few. Not only is he an accomplished technical and cave diver and instructor, but he is also a talented underwater photographer. Kirill currently lives in High Springs, Florida, where he cave dives regularly. “I love sharing amazing places and things I see with other divers and non-divers,” Kirill said. “The other exciting opportunity is to document wrecks and caves, and preserve their current state, at least in the form of photos.”

One cool aspect that Kirill enjoys about being a photographer is being useful on projects by blending his skills as a diver and his skills as a photographer. He contributes photos that then can be shared and used for documentation, identification, and conservation. Of all the places he has photographed, his two favorites are: Mars the Magnificent, and the Twin Dees/Weeki Wachee cave system.

But, Kirill isn’t the first artist in his family.

“As my granddad was an avid photographer, and my father is an artist and a semi-pro photographer, I have attempted land photography at different points in my life. During the ‘archaeological’ part of my life, macro photography and backlight contrast photography were a big part of what I was doing (while primarily studying Viking Age textiles). I only made the decision to start playing with underwater photography in late 2013. I never planned to get that seriously into this as a hobby.”

Outside of his family, Kirill has drawn inspiration from other underwater photographers like Becky Kagan Schott, Pete Mesley, and David Rhea. “Their photos were the reason for me to start learning underwater photography, and they keep inspiring me to learn further,” he said.

For Kirill, one of the hardest elements of underwater photography is communicating with models and trying to convince them to do what he wants. “I am lazy, so if I need to work too long on photos after I have taken them, I typically do not. So I try to use a ‘film’ approach—every photo has to be good at the moment it is taken.”

In the future, Kirill would like to dive caves and wrecks that are less travelled and capture images that are useful to researchers, and of course beautiful to look at.

You can see more of Kirill’s images by following him on Instagram and Facebook.

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Interview with GUE about NextGen Scholarship

InDepth recently caught up with Ricki Orford, one of the organizers behind the new GUE scholarship, to see how the response to the new NextGen scholarship was.

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InDepth recently caught up with Ricki Orford, part of the team organizing the new GUE scholarship, to see how the response to the new NextGen scholarship was. 

So it’s been a few weeks since the GUE scholarship applications closed. How was the response?

The response was overwhelming.  We weren’t sure, given the tight timeline and the fact that it was brand new, that word would get around quickly enough, and that we would have this many applicants. During the planning stage, we even put in a contingency to extend the deadline in case we got fewer than 10 applicants. We ended up with almost 160 applicants from all over the world, and the quality of the applicants and the applications have been extremely high.  We are incredibly happy with the response.

Are you only shortlisting GUE members?

No. In fact, well over half of the applicants are not GUE members and have never had GUE training before, and members have no advantage in the application process over non-members.  We hope that will change in the future, and that many of the applicants, as they learn more, will consider joining GUE.

What are you looking for in a successful candidate?

We are looking for someone who wants to do more than just take the training to become a strong diver for personal development. We are looking for a candidate who either has demonstrated progress towards, or who can clearly articulate, a vision they have for making a real difference in either education, conservation, or exploration.

Were any applications incomplete, and if so what happens to them?

There are several applications that were incomplete.  Either they were not finalized by the applicant or they are missing an element.  Unfortunately, these applications will not be considered by GUE this time round, but the applicants will be welcome to try again next year.

What is the process for shortlisting the finalists?

The NextGen committee and the GUE BOD are reviewing every application, and each submission is being scored.  Only complete applications by eligible divers are considered. When reviewed, the applicant’s essay, references, and video are reviewed and scored separately.  Once scored, the top 10 applicants will be presented to the GUE Board of Directors with a recommendation for the winner. The Board of Directors will make the final decision on who the recipient will be.  We hope to announce the winner within the next 6 – 8 weeks.

Is there really only one scholarship recipient?

We were fortunate enough to get support from GUE, Halcyon, Divers Alert Network (DAN), and Gareth Lock’s, The Human Diver,  to help fund the non-instructional components of this first scholarship. To complement this, the response from GUE instructors offering to train the scholar at no charge was overwhelming.  

We would love to offer more than one scholarship, so if anyone is reading this and wishes to get involved in sponsoring a scholar (either as an individual or as a company), please do reach out to Kady Smith at ks@gue.com.  Meanwhile, given the incredible response from such committed and dedicated divers, GUE’s leadership team is reviewing options to find other ways to engage the most impressive applicants with GUE. 

How will the recipient be announced?

When a decision has been made, the successful candidate will be contacted.  Then once we have confirmed eligibility and determined that the applicant is still available to undertake the scholarship, we will contact each unsuccessful applicant by email.  Shortly after that, we will announce the NextGen Scholar on social media.

Anything else you would like to say to applicants waiting to hear the results?

Thank you for your patience, your dedication, and your time in putting together some truly impressive applications. Picking a winner from so many excellent and worthy applicants will be truly challenging. Good luck to all of you!

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