Photo: Photographer and diver Wes Skiles

Photograph by Luis Lamar

Photographer Wes Skiles began to learn his craft in the most demanding environment on Earth: underwater caves.

As a teenager, camera in hand, he explored Florida's underwater labyrinths to capture images of this unphotographed realm. He developed and refined the technique he became most known for: using multiple slaved strobes to dramatically illuminate and photograph this never-before-seen environment.

Later, as explorations led Skiles to remote locations around the world, he would strive to employ the latest technology, enhancing his ability to explore the environment and return with stunning images. He participated in caving and cave-diving expeditions in Mexico, Brazil, Puerto Rico, and Australia.

As an expedition cameraman, Skiles specialized in capturing images of people and wildlife on the edge of extreme frontiers. His visual imagery provided the viewer with an intimate understanding and unique perspective of his subjects.

Skiles worked on assignment as a freelance photographer for National Geographic magazine. His work was also featured in Outside and numerous diving publications. Skiles also produced, directed, and filmed over a hundred television films, many of which have won international awards and acclaim.

In 2010, Skiles died following the conclusion of a scientific research expedition off the east coast of Florida. He was 52. "Wes was a true explorer in every sense and a wonderful spirit," National Geographic magazine Editor in Chief Chris Johns said. "He set a standard for underwater photography, cinematography, and exploration that is unsurpassed."

Photographers A-Z

Photography Tips Galleries

Special Offers

  • multiproduct_email_100x75_jancover.jpg

    National Geographic

    Subscribe to National Geographic magazine and save. Print and digital editions available for as little as $12.