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Underwater Photographer Highlight: Su Eun Kim

South Korean tekkie Su Eun Kim says that her passion for underwater photography has pushed her to expand her diving horizons. “I take photos because I want to share my experiences with other divers, and inspire them to go diving more often and to try new environments.” Her favorite places to make pictures are underwater caves.

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South Korean tekkie and explorer Su Eun Kim is an extraordinary underwater photographer.  As the owner of Tech Korea, Kim holds 36 certifications in everything from cylinder cleaning to cave diving to being an instructor trainer for several agencies. While she has never been into photography on land (she just takes photos on her smartphone while dry), she has been taking underwater images since 2011.  She says photography is what pushes her to learn different forms of diving and explore new aquatic environments.

“The reason why I take underwater photos is because I want to share my experiences with other divers,” Kim said. “I want to show people who have never seen it how beautiful the underwater environment is, how fun and cool diving is, and to inspire other divers to go diving more often and to try new environments, such as cave diving.”

For her, the courage to learn new forms of diving, such as becoming a cave diver or joining exploration projects, has stemmed from her passion for underwater photography.  She has been an expedition photographer during several projects, including two different Project Baseline missions and several cave exploration projects.

“I have a lot of respect for underwater explorers who also take wonderful photos. Two of these are Kirill Egorov and Ali Perkins. Both are great explorers in both the ocean and cave environments, and they also take amazing photos. They have so much passion for diving itself, and that inspires me.”

Kim’s favorite places to photograph are caves. But, she says the hardest part of her underwater photography is traveling with all of the camera equipment (that’s a lot of baggage!). Kim’s plan is to never stop learning and improving her underwater photography skills.  To see more of Su Eun Kim’s photography follow her on Facebook.


Su Eun Kim is the owner of Tech Korea. She is a JJ CCR diver and instructor, exploration diver, and underwater photographer. She loves all underwater environments but is especially drawn to caves. She has been a part of multiple cave exploration/research projects.


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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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