Dubai: A photo exhibition of marine life in the emirates and the region was opened on Thursday night at the Sultan Bin Ali Al Owais Cultural Foundation.
The “An Underwater Message” exhibition by the Emirates Marine life Photography Group features the works of seven Emirati underwater photographers, namely Ahmad Abdul Rahman Suhail, Abdullah Abul Rahman Suhail, Ali Bin Thaleth Al Humeri, Yousuf Jasem Al Ali, Talal Al Zarouni, Rashid Abdullah Al Ahmadi and D. Hamad Saleh Al Thafiri.
The exhibition was opened by a group of high ranking officials, including Mohammad Al Murr, Federal National Council Speaker.
Al Murr told Gulf News that the exhibition is nice in two ways — artistically and environmentally.
“The examples that we saw today are very beautiful. They also showed us the variety of the marine life in the UAE, whether in the Oman side or Emirates side,”
He added that the exhibition could be a message to the public, “that look at the beautiful country you have and trying to educate our people as to how to protect it and see the beauty in it, and not pollute it.”
“The exhibition showed us a couple of young photographers that are interested in this niche section of photography — usually people are interested in the more popular forms of photography, and it is nice that our youngsters are interested in this section of photography.” Al Murr said.
Al Ali, said that he started underwater photography about a year ago, but he has been doing photography — especially wildlife since 2007.
About how he got into underwater photography, Al Ali said that he had tried diving and was fascinated by the marine life and he wanted to photograph it.
“But I was alone and I didn’t have a friend that did underwater photography, so it was hard for me to get the photography equipment.”
In 2011, Al Ali said he met a group of Emirati diving instructors who shared his interest, and they all got an advanced diving license that allows them to dive to greater depths. “Bit by bit, we became closer and we started buying photography equipment and finally we formed the Emirates Marine life Photography Group.”
Al Ali said that they have read and researched a lot that they now know where exactly where they can find the different sea creatures.
“We started as photographers, but we thought we should give back to our country and so we started documenting the creatures we found and where we found them, and we created a database on our website.”
Suhail, who started as an accredited diving instructor, said that he had started doing underwater photography around four years ago.
“I am also an accredited marine photography and videography instructor”
What is interesting is that Suhail only started regular photography about a year ago.
He explained that what makes this exhibition special is that it is the first independent exhibition of the group. “We have participated in many exhibitions, but Emirati [exhibitions] were always very few, and so we decided to get our best works and showcase it in a exhibition that is all Emirati.”
Suhail added that 80 per cent of this exhibitions works were taken in the UAE.
Underwater photography, Shuhail said, is very different from land photography. “The lighting is different, the depths and the risk that your oxygen tank can finish.”
“You have a specific time frame to take the photos, if you exceed it and your air runs out, you are gone!” He explained that the duration they dive, depends on the depths.
“We try not to go too deep so we can stay longer. We go 10-15 meters deep,so we can stay for around 30-45 minutes, but these numbers are just an estimation, as it all depends on the person’s body and air consumption,” Suhail said.