CAMERA CLUB MEETING
Jason Tucker loves it when his business goes under. Under water, that is.
“I can’t stand to be in the water without my camera,” says Jason. “As sure as I don’t have it, something amazing will happen.” Since a big part of his photography business is underwater work, that’s a good thing.
Tucker says his love of photography started about 21 years ago, doing event work as a self taught photographer while getting his degree from Lipscomb University in Nashville. He got more and more requests for his photography work. “It kind of exploded,” Tucker says. “When I got out of college I had to decide; do what my degree’s in or do what others want me to do and what I want to do.”
Turns out his seemingly non-related degrees have been useful in his business. As a “people person,” Tucker uses his knowledge of psychology as he does studio portraits; his biology background is helpful in his underwater work.
I can’t stand to be in the water without my camera.
As a studio photographer, Tucker has found satisfaction in the longevity of his career. “I’ve learned to love relationships by photographing people and growing with their families. I’ve photographed 8 or 9 year old children, then photographed their weddings. Now I’m photographing their children.”
Growing up in Nashville, Tucker still managed to become a lover of the water. “My parents took me to the beach. My dad took me fishing. I went diving in my teens and I fell in love with the ocean. The world opened up to me.” When he goes to the beach he thinks, “This is home.” He loves the water so much he says, “If I could have one thing I wished for, it would be gills. I’ve always had water in my blood.”
Tucker continued doing any project or sport he could in the water and even became a show skier for Marine World in the 1990s. He did his share of underwater photography. “In the open ocean 3,000 feet deep you never know what’s going to swim up beside you. Sometimes a camera is the only thing between me and a shark. It’s a calculated risk,” he explains.
Tucker has perfected his craft with lots of practice. He learned how light behaves underwater, and lighting is a must. “Light loses color as you go deeper,” he explains. “You have to have light with you.” Light isn’t the only challenge. “Shooting underwater is like shooting in a hurricane. You’re trying to shoot a small shrimp in moving current while gluing yourself to the floor of the ocean.” With a laugh, Tucker lists some of the challenges of underwater photography. “Lighting, composition, currents, water clarity…sharks.” Tucker admits his work environment can be hazardous.
Combining his love of water and his passion for photography seemed a natural progression for Tucker’s business. But studio portraits underwater? Tucker couldn’t see any reason not to. He has photographed swim teams, done senior portraits, prom portraits, and wedding photography, all underwater. “It’s great doing underwater prom and wedding photography,” says Tucker. “The dresses float in beautiful ways, and the hair flows all around the models.” Tucker can build an underwater studio in a pool complete with backgrounds to suit his portraits. “If it can go underwater I can photograph it,” he says.
Tucker’s clients have to be comfortable in the water and be able to stay under long enough for him to get photos, much like a studio setting anywhere else. If they can stay under for several seconds, the results are stunning. His list of satisfied clients continues to grow. Underwater portraiture is unique in both experience and results.
In his upcoming lecture on underwater photography to the Cookeville Camera Club, Tucker plans to show some of his photos and bring some of his gear he uses in his art. Salt water is corrosive so protective gear for equipment as well as gear the photographer must wear is a must.
To see some of Jason Tucker’s photography visit his website at www.tuckerphotography.com.
— Kathy Neer