Wednesday, July 24, 2024
HomeUnderwater ImagingWorld Champion Freedivers, Stunt Doubles and Sharks

World Champion Freedivers, Stunt Doubles and Sharks

The Latest Photography From Lia Barrett

Unlike most photographers who choose Freedivers as their subjects, Lia Barrett gets the weirdest looks. That’s because she takes photos whilst Scuba Diving when most others are on breath-hold.

Despite the clunky tank and dorky fins she has taken some of the finest photos seen of Freedivers and keeps the company of Freediving World Champions at some of the top competitions in the world. When not running around the world taking photos, she also somehow finds time to help run her own company Prawno Apparel as well as be the Photo Editor for Underwater Photography website Dive Photo Guide.

Lia readily admits her approach isn’t the most glamorous:

“Amongst the freediving community, it is no secret that I’m a tank-toter.  Yes, I admit that I have yet to morph myself into a masterful, graceful freediver.  But, in my defense, while many of you are spending your time bolting for the surface to breathe, I am doing some work.  For someone has to be framing the next shot, adjusting lights and whispering to sharks.  Not the most glamorous approach, but definitely effective in certain scenarios.”

Her latest subjects and collaborations have produced yet another set of spectacular shots:

“My latest collaboration took me to the Bahamas to shoot for my company, Prawno Apparel, with Liz Parkinson and Stuart Cove’s.  Liz is a freediver, stunt double and all around wonder woman, and Stuart Cove’s is an underwater playground filled with interesting wrecks, sharks and reef.  Known as the underwater Hollywood, many iconic directors have seen their visions realized through the work that Stuart Cove has been doing since his first Bond film in the 70’s.  And because Liz and I had access to a safety team and dozens of curious sharks, the ocean off New Providence was literally our oyster.”

“Three months prior to my time with Liz, I went to Mexico to hang out with the man with the thighs of steel, Mr. Alexey Molchanov.  Again on a mission for Prawno (Alexey is featured in a few of our designs and campaigns), we focused on the wildlife of La Paz and the dramatically lit cenotes of the Maya Riviera.  Working with any freediver is an absolute pleasure, but when you’re working with a man who can easily do consecutive 30 meter dives, during which he poses for a few minutes at a time in different scenarios, your job as photographer is literally a stroll in the park.”

Despite the “limitations” of being a Scuba Diver taking photos of super-human Freedivers, Lia absolutely loves taking photos of Freedivers:

“But the best thing about shooting both Liz and Alexey is their flexibility in both skill and spirit.  Neither of them question my sanity when I ask them to hang out in trees or surround themselves by sharks nipping at their bare feet.  And fortunately for me, they aid my lazy shooting style by doing most of the work.  I just sit there with a few gestures of my hands for directions and a flick of my finger on the shutter, and voilà!  Job complete!  But let’s just keep this secret between us, for if every shooter on scuba knew the ease and joy of working with freedivers, well then you just might have a few more tank-toters trying to get into your inner circle!”

You can see more of Lia’s photography at

Stephan Whelan
Stephan Whelan
Stephan is the Founder of His passion for the underwater world started at 8 years old with a try-dive in a hotel pool on holiday that soon formulated into a lifelong love affair with the oceans. In 1996 he set up and has grown the site to be the most popular diving website and community in the world.