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Alexander Mustard Photo Bio

Far more interesting than reading about me, is looking at my photos. See my Portfolio and my Gallery pages.

Dr Alexander MUSTARD, 39, from the UK. Has been taking underwater photographs for 30 years and has worked as a full time underwater photographer for the last 10 years. Previously, he worked as a marine biologist at the UK's National Oceanography Centre, Southampton. His innovative underwater photographs are respected and celebrated around the world. He has pioneered many techniques within underwater photography and is held in particular esteem by the underwater photography community for continually sharing his secrets through magazine articles, talks and workshops.

His photographs have won many awards including, on five occasions, in the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year. He has also won multiple categories in the British Wildlife Photography Awards. His last book won the International Grand Prize for the best book of underwater photographs. In 2013, Alex was named GDT European Wildlife Photographer of the Year for his image Night Moves. The first time an underwater photograph has won this prestigious award. His photographs have been displayed in exhibitions around the world and a particular highlight was personally presenting his work to Queen Elizabeth II.

Alex Mustard personally presenting his underwater photos to Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh.

Alex is a regular contributor to many publications in the marine, wildlife, diving and photographic media, and to date has published more than 400 illustrated articles. In particularly, he is a sought after writer on all aspects of underwater photography, particularly equipment reviews and technique articles. In addition to many one off features, he currently writes three monthly columns on underwater photography: IMAGES Column for Sport Diver (USA), Be The Champ for DIVER Magazine (UK) and Fisheye for Wild Planet Photo Magazine (UK), and contributes to the quarterly Underwater Photography Masterclass feature in Ocean Geographic Magazine (Australia). He has previously written 36 editions of his PhotoPro Column for DIVE Magazine (UK) and 20 instalments of the Talking Megapixels Column for FiNS Magazine (Singapore), both of which are now reproduced on this website.

A selection of diving magazine covers, all featuring people (prepared for another use!).

He also has written regular series of articles on marine life, including 50 instalments of his popular Dr Mustard Column for Ocean Frontiers and his extensive Nature Notes features for the lavishly illustrated Dive The World magazine. He has contributed more than 70 articles for Underwater Photography Magazine and also contributed articles on underwater photography techniques to DAN's Alert Diver Magazine, Asian Diver, Scuba Diving Australasia and Scuba Diver Through The Lens. He has published many articles on underwater photography on Wetpixel.com and DivePhotoGuide.com. He is a Senior Contributor to Underwater Photography Magazine, an Associate Editor of Wetpixel, an honorary editor of Ocean Geographic (Australia) and a member of the Ocean Artists Society. He was one of the commissioned photographers for the 2020VISION conservation photography project in the UK. Several major diving equipment manufacturers and national tourist boards are among his professional clients.

Excerpts from the 2020VISION book and street exhibition in central London.

Alex's photography has been featured extensively in books. His first photo book, The Art Of Diving, was released in 2006. The Art Of Diving is a collaboration with author Nick Hanna and is an exploration of why we love to dive. It has been described by David Doubilet as "the best book about diving since Jacques Cousteau's The Silent World". His second book, Reefs Revealed was both written and photographed by Alex and won the highly prestigious International Grand Prize for the best book of underwater photographs at the 34th World Festival of Underwater Photography, France.

Although he is yet to write his own book on the subject, Alex has been asked to make contributions to most books on underwater photography published in the last decade. He wrote a chapters for Martin Edge's The Underwater Photographer 3rd Edition (2006) and 4th Edition (2010), The Diving Almanac (2009) and Michael Aw's The Advanced Guide To Digital Underwater Photography (2007) and several more. To date his images have appeared in five books from the Wildlife Photographer of The Year and four from British Wildlife Photography Awards. Through stock sales, his pictures have appeared in many other titles around the world.

Some of the books featuring Alex Mustard's work.

Alex has used Subal housings for many years. He says, "Reviewing housings and teaching workshops means that I have tried all the major brands extensively in the field. But I choose to use Subal for my own photography because I know their housings are constructed with ergonomics details that let me capture the shot when others fall short. And Subal have a build quality I trust when it is my reputation on the line, when I am on assignment." He is also very grateful for support from Aqualung, Fourth Element, Whites Drysuits, Apeks, Nauticam, INON, Seacam, Retra and Subsee. Alex currently shoots with a Nikon D4 in a Subal ND4 housing and a Nikon D7100 in a Subal ND7100 housing. He is the inventor of the Magic Filters, filters designed specifically for available light underwater photography with digital cameras.

One of the most unusual projects Alex has been involved in is Nissan's NV200 concept car built for the Tokyo Motor Show. The car was designed specifically around his needs as an underwater photographer working in the field and features a patented sliding cargo pod which is divided into a number of separate areas into which different pieces of diving and photographic equipment can be stored. The standard Nissan NV200 van has now been on sale for several years.

The Nissan NV200 concept car designed around my needs as an underwater photographer.

Alex Mustard Underwater Photography Workshops have become a must do in photography circles and he runs a handful of them each year, at top diving destinations around the world. Two of the longest running are in the Cayman Islands and the Red Sea, both are destinations he knows inside out with excellent photographic conditions and predictable subject matter, making them ideally suited for teaching. These trips always fill up very quickly, please subscribe to Alex's email list to be first to hear about them. Photographers have called them the "world's best underwater photography course" and "the workshop that every underwater photography owes it to themselves to do". Alex is proud that many of the winners of major international underwater photography competition have joined him on and continue to attend his workshops.

The class of 2013. Group photos from the 8 highly popular workshops Alex ran in 2013.

Alex was educated at Mount House School, Devon, and Stowe School, Buckinghamshire, where he attended as a Roxborough Scholar. As a marine biologist Alex received both is undergraduate degree (BSc Hons) and his PhD from Southampton University (both at the National Oceanography Centre) and was awarded the Norman Heaps prize from the Challenger Society for Marine Science (2002) as one the UK's most promising young marine scientists. His most recent peer reviewed publication was in the prestigious journal Nature. Alex lives with his partner Eleonora and their dachshund Zena.

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Published quotes about Alex

MUSTARD, Dr. Alexander, U.K. (1975-). Marine scientist; award winning underwater photographer; inventor of Magic Filter; digital officer for the British Society of Underwater Photographers; associate editor of Wetpixel.com; contributing editor DIVE Magazine; honorary editor Ocean Geographic Magazine; senior contributor Underwater Photography Magazine; amustard.com
Diving Who's Who The Diving Almanac And Book Of Records 2009

Alex has a unique eye. This is dynamic underwater imagery at its best.
David Doubilet in The Art Of Diving.

Alex... images are so unique, the power of the composition, you have enveloped the quality of a masterful artist.
Ernie Brooks

Alex, you are a breath of fresh air to all underwater photographers; thank you for sharing your ideas with us.
Martin Edge in The Underwater Photographer.

As far as I am concerned, he's the best underwater photographer currently working in the UK. Just as importantly, he's a skillful writer who delights in sharing information with fellow enthusiasts.
Simon Rogerson in DIVE Magazine.

Now in the digital age we have a master who is producing genre images. These are so unique that it is not possible to go anywhere near them technically without looking so obviously like a lame copy. I refer, of course, to Dr Alex Mustard.
Peter Rowlands in Underwater Photography Magazine.

Alex Mustard is one of the world's leading underwater photographers, his images celebrate the extraordinary diversity of marine life in the world's oceans. His wide-ranging portfolio includes everything from startling macro shots of fluorescent coral species to large-scale scenes of barnacle-encrusted shipwrecks resting on the ocean floor. All are captured in eye-popping detail and often in vivid colour. His pictures combine creativity with technical accomplishment and push the boundaries of what can be achieved with a camera beneath the surface of the water.
David Clark in Amateur Photographer Magazine.

Dr Alex Mustard is an award winning marine biologist and one of the world's most innovative underwater photographers.
Sue Fox in The Sunday Times (London).

Alex Mustard has become synonymous with coupling fantastical visions of an image he has imagined with innovative equipment developments to create them. The result has been signature shots that are instantly recognisable as Mustard Masterpieces.
Colin Doeg (co-founder of the British Society of Underwater Photographers).

[Mustard is] arguably Britain's most successful underwater photographer... who has won many awards for his thoughtful, original and often spectacular work, and also for his new book.
DIVER Magazine UK.

Alexander Mustard took his first pictures under water aged nine. Thirty years on, he is the Britain's best-known underwater photographer.
Wildphotos, 2014.

Alex Mustard is one of the world's most acclaimed underwater photographers... He's been shooting underwater images for over 30 years and has an unrivalled body of work.
Practical Photography Magazine, 2014.

Below are a small selection of interviews with Alex Mustard.

Online interviews with Alex

On... Wildlife Photography (video interview) at Natural History Museum - by Charlotte Coales.

On... What Lies Beneath published in Amateur Photographer Magazine - by David Clark.

On... Underwater Photography published in Alert Diver Magazine - by Stephen Frink.

On... Underwater Photography published in Outdoor Photography Magazine - by Heather Gregory.

On... Photography for The Art Of Diving published in UWP Magazine - by Peter Rowlands.

On... Digital underwater photography and The Art Of Diving, published in Easyjet Inflight Magazine - by Piers Townley.

On... Underwater Photography (in German), published in GDT Magazine by Sandra Bartocha.

On... Underwater Photography (in Dutch), published in Duiken Magazine by Ron Offermans.

On... Underwater Photography (in Swedish), published in DYK Magazine by Fredrik Isakson.

On... Underwater Photography (in Estonian), published in Adrenaliin Magazine by Kaido Haagen.

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