David Doubilet is a well known underwater photographer known primarily for his work published in National Geographic Magazine. He was born in New York and started taking photos underwater at the young age of 12. He started with a Brownie Hawkeye in a rubber anesthesiologist’s bag to keep the water out of the camera. During his summer holidays, he spent his time along the New Jersey coast. He later worked as a diver and photographer for the Sandy Hook Marine Laboratories in New Jersey. He also spent much time in the Caribbean. While a dive instructor in the Bahamas he found his motivation to capture the beauty of the sea and everything in it.
His goal is to “redefine photographic boundaries” every time he enters the water. This has helped him achieve some of his greatest shots. In order to capture all the underwater wildlife, he takes several cameras with him on each of his trips. The main obstacle in underwater photography is the impossibility of changing lenses or film underwater.
Doubilet’s ingenuity lead him to the invention of the split lens camera. This allowed him to take pictures above and below water simultaneously. This worked by having a separate focus point on the top half and bottom half of the scene. When the picture is taken, it is recorded onto the same negative.
He has shot well over sixty stories for National Geographic and published numerous books on his own. His most recent was a photo shot in Cuban waters entitled “The Last Caribbean Refuge.