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For the love of the ocean

‘I’d like to capture moments like spawning, mating, and laying eggs which are some of the examples of marine behavior. It is a test of patience, waiting for the exact moment and be ready for it and capture it through your lens.’ — Garri Immanuel Tadlip

It is never too early for a kid to learn photography. It is incredible, however, for a 14-year-old to literally dive into underwater photography wholeheartedly.

Garri Immanuel Tadlip, or Iggy, is a PADI-certified (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) young diver and underwater photographer from Cebu City. When we refer to Iggy as an underwater photographer, we’re not being loose with the word “photographer.” At a very young age, Iggy has been recognized and has achieved most of what people twice his age could.

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  • Garri Immanuel Tadlip
  • Garri Immanuel Tadlip
  • Garri Immanuel Tadlip
  • Garri Immanuel Tadlip
  • Garri Immanuel Tadlip
  • Garri Immanuel Tadlip
  • Garri Immanuel Tadlip
  • Garri Immanuel Tadlip
  • Garri Immanuel Tadlip
  • Garri Immanuel Tadlip
  • Garri Immanuel Tadlip
  • Garri Immanuel Tadlip

Iggy’s choice achievements include: winning the 2013 Splash NUDI (Network of Underwater Digital Imagers, Inc.) Underwater Shoot Out, placing second at the Panglao International Dive Fiesta in May 2013 and the Anilao Underwater Photography Competition Festival. He was also a renowned guest speaker in the recently concluded Malaysian International Dive Expo (MIDE).

His humble beginnings started with a choice and a good foundation. He values his PADI certification a lot as PADI is among the most respected and sought-after scuba diving credentials in the world. The certification was also his first significant step in exploring the beauty of marine biodiversity.

“It is a choice that I will never regret to have made. I am pleased to be with PADI divers everywhere I go. The experience I am having because of my certification is awesome, I gain confidence in mastering important safety concepts and skills, and PADI sets specific standards with the highest in the world,” Iggy shared.

Upon earning his PADI Junior Open Water certification, Iggy wasted no time to acquire his own gear. His father searched online for a good deal and found a female tourist who was just here in the country for a couple of days and was looking to sell all of her diving equipment. Luckily, she was petite so her size fitted Iggy quite well. To their surprise, the lady also included her Olympus point-and-shoot, water-proof camera with the collective sale of all the other gears. Since then, Iggy has been busy photographing marine life.

His first successful stint at a local shootout competition, the Splash-NUDI Underwater Photographers Society, brought him a step closer to a more professional orientation after he won a compact underwater housing for a Canon G7x, a Z240 Inon strobe, and Inon LE550 lights. His father thereafter, only had to acquire the camera as well as the arms for him to get the compact set going.

“Underwater photography is a passion for me.  I realize that I need to continually hone my skills, so training by participating in workshops, gaining more knowledge, and meeting many more experts are necessary,” Iggy enthused.

Iggy’s preferred subject in underwater photography is done in macro by underlining behavioral shots. “I’d like to capture moments like spawning, mating, and laying eggs which are some of the examples of marine behavior. It is a test of patience, waiting for the exact moment and be ready for it and capture it through your lens,” he explains.

Time management is very crucial in pursuing his interests, Iggy points out. “I am just so lucky to have a very supportive school, St.Thomas Aquinas school of Lawaan Talisay, Cebu. There’s also this rule imposed to me by my parents: No diving if I don’t do good in school. Every time that I need to catch up in school lessons, my teachers are very supportive that they give me some extra work for me to make up for my absences. But, at the end of the day, it’s all about how you cope with the challenges and balance school from this passion I have for underwater photography.”

Iggy’s works give us the opportunity to witness an undersea paradise from a kid’s perspective. To him, the experience is a holistic learning tool—a spectacular means to expand his vocabularies,hone his story-telling skills, and enrich his scientific knowledge.

“There are a lot of learnings and interesting dialogues that are in store for the adult participants to this much publicized activity. I may be just one of the topic presenters but I hope my simple sharing will be a relevant contribution to the adult world, to appreciate that underwater photography can be loved and embraced at a very young age. It should further manifest that mentorship of young photographers by dedicated competent mentors has its fulfilling rewards,” Iggy added.

This child prodigy in underwater macro photography and perhaps the youngest underwater macro photographer in the Philippines, looks forward to the day when he can become a booming voice in addressing a handful of our environmental concerns. For now, he is pleased to share what he sees in his underwater playground as he aims to promote marine conservation for the benefit of future generations.