Underwater photography by children of the Ukraine Delta Club
How do you get a bunch of children and teenagers interested in art and science? Put them in a pool with underwater camera equipment and let them go wild! That is exactly what a group of progressive-thinking and innovative dive instructors did in the vibrant and dynamic land of the Ukraine. They formed the Delta Club for children ages 5 and up for just this purpose.
Members were given the use of cameras, lenses, underwater housing and lighting and the freedom to test their imaginations and creative powers. The results you can see here are outstanding works of new and unique underwater images of what can only be fascinations sprouting out of young underwater photographers’ minds.
The Delta Children’s Club of Underwater Photography and Diving of the Kharkov (Ukraine) regional Palace of Children and Youth Activities was founded more than 25 years ago. The club specializes in sport underwater photography, underwater photo-hunting with a camera, fine art underwater photography and training of underwater swimmers by the CMAS system.
The total number of members is more than 80 children ages 5½ to 18 years old. Since 1995, many members of the Delta Club have won various championships in the Ukraine in the catagory of sporting underwater photography by youths and juniors. The Delta Club members are also participants and winners of the largest international festivals and competitions of underwater images in Tahov, Czech Republic; Antibes, France; Donetsk, Ukraine; and Istanbul, Turkey.
Vladimir Kushnir is the director of the Delta Club. He is a winner and gold medalist of many underwater photography competitions, a participant in world championships, a CMAS** instructor, a photo-instructor at the CMAS II level and a CMAS trainer-instructor in children’s diving. Kushnir created the training program for young underwater photographers and divers. He is a doctor of science with a PhD in experimental physics.
Nikolay Silkin is an instructor with the Delta Club. He holds a graduate degree in engineering and design. He is also an instructor of underwater sport. He developed the original technique in the area of design of underwater equipment and underwater photographing technique. He also developed the “underwater-technical training” programs for the club.
Tatyana Azarenko is the teacher of the first category of students. She is an instructor of medical physical culture and a sport master. Since 1995, she has been the children’s medical aide, instructor of the teaching of swimming for pectoral children in the program, “Float early, then walk”, and a CMAS* swimmer. Since 2000, she has been the leader of the club’s basic training group. Azarenko developed the training program for young underwater photographers and divers.
What The Children Say...
Darya Guseva (16) who won First Prize in the category Young Photographers at the 31st World Festival of Underwater Pictures in Antibes, France, 2004, said:
“The most exciting part of the process of underwater photography is to obtain the printed result. Ideas come during viewing TV programs, magazines... Sometimes the ideas are even given birth in sleep. With Small Diver. I really wanted to photograph a cheerful and dynamic picture. I decided that my young cheerful friend, Timka, would be my model. I wanted to create an image where a small child appeared like a frog. It was rather difficult to make a photo, because my model was only two years old, and he was not able to stay too long underwater. The photo shoot was carried out in a pool. At this time, the well-known photographer, Todd Essick, arrived in our country and visited our club. Some photos were made together with him.”
Natalia Vasilchenko (13) who made the image entitled, Lonely wanderer, said that the image represents a maple-leaf wandering on a blue ocean. “It is quite lonely, but its twin brother is always near him. Its brother is a reflection, which is never separated from the wanderer. This idea came to me in the pool. In the autumn, I gathered a lot of maple leaves and wanted to take a picture of an autumn underwater bouquet. One leaf sailed away from the bouquet during the shoot. It was a lonely leaf, but the best one. I decided to take a separately picture of it.”
Alena Manets (14) said, “Underwater photography is unusually extraordinary! Not always does one succeed at taking a picture as planned, but there are a lot of ideas. Sometimes amusing stories happen during the photography sessions in the pool. Recently, during a photo shoot of an object, a lot of beads came unstuck from it, and we had to gather them from the bottom of the pool. It was hard work! In my picture, Still Life, one can see the top of an amphora. There is a small spiny lobster on the amphora. This idea came to me when I went to a lecture on archaeology. To see the image, one should turn the photo upside-down. We called such images, ‘perevertysh’. It was difficult to make the photo, because I tried to hide the pool’s bricks using the bubbles of air. I had to adjust the quantity of bubbles. But in the final version of the image, there are no bubbles.” This image took part in the 2005 World Festival of Underwater Pictures in Antibes, France. ■