The British Society of Underwater Photographers (BSoUP)
Inspiring and informing underwater photographers since 1967

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Kungkungan Bay Resort

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Winning Imaes by Paul Colley


Brtish Divers Marine Life Rescue - Sponsors of BSoUP / DIVER Print Competition 2017



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O'Three - Sponsor of the BIUPC 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018

Underwater World Stony Cove

Diver Magazine - Sponsor of the Annual Beginners Portfolio Competition and the BSoUP/DIVER Print Competition

DiveQuest - Sponsor of the Underwater Excellence

Peter Scoones

by Colin Doeg

Peter Scoones
Peter Scoones - Co-founder of BSoUP

Sadly, Peter passed away in his sleep on 20th April, 2014. To read his obituray please see 'A legend in his own lifetime'.

When Peter Scoones was serving in the Royal Air Force in the Far East in the early 1960's the shops only stocked facemasks. He bought one so he could more easily see to scrub the hull of his racing dinghy. However, one glimpse of the colourful fish and scenery below was sufficient to arouse a passion that has taken him to the highest ranks of the world's most highly regarded wildlife underwater cameramen.

He trained as a naval architect but, when he was due to be called up for National Service, instead decided to sign up for the RAF and let them teach me something useful. That was photography and he learned to use and repair everything from 35mm to 5in x 4in film cameras as well as cine models. He also did everything from pack shots and portraits to air-to-air photography.

At the same time he made housings in Perspex so he could take his photography underwater and soon began to produce results that went on to win gold medals at international film festivals. At the same time, he and his friends formed their own diving club, devised training programmes and taught themselves to dive with the assistance of the local Royal Navy unit.

At the end of his time in the RAF Peter returned to the UK and began working in the photographic trade as colour manager of a Fleet Street processing laboratory. That was when he met Colin Doeg and together, in 1967, they formed the British Society of Underwater Photographers.

The Society's first splash-ins were at Shoreham and Swanage, on the south coast. Later they moved to Fort Bovisand at Plymouth and the on-the-day shoot-out format that Peter devised is now the basis of competitions throughout the world, including the CMAS world title event. Led by Peter, some of the members used to process the day's films in the dungeons at the Fort and the audience voted for their favourite images, a practice adopted by BsoUP to overcome the fierce controversies that usually followed judges' decisions at contests.

Peter moved on to join a company that made housings and underwater cameras for the oil industry as well as providing film and photographic services. He used to amaze his friends with his ability to return from an assignment in tropical waters one day and be packed and ready to fly to Aberdeen the next morning to work on a North Sea oil rig.

While he was working for that company he had his big break. The BBC heard that he had developed a special low light television camera and wanted to hire it for an expedition to the Comoros to film coelacanths, the oldest fish in the world. Peter said the camera was only available if he came along to operate it ¦ and that is how he first met David Attenborough, who is instantly recognisable throughout the world as the voice and face of wildlife films.

The Underwater Channel - Peter Scoones interview
The Underwater Channel - Peter Scoones interview

Ocean Geographic
The Man of the Blue Planet Peter Scoones
From Ocean Geograhic article by Gill McDonald

The method of controlling the camera was crude. It was dangled deep in the ocean at the end of a steel hawser that was raised, lowered and twisted to direct it. Eventually the camera met its fate when it was trapped in a gully and torn adrift from the hawser but the expedition led to a continuing involvement with the BBC's Natural History Unit and strings of awards for the films and videos for which his work was a major or total part.

In the process he has dived everywhere from the tropics to beneath the ice. He knows the world's oceans like most people know their own garden or street. He is the only person to have been awarded the title of British Underwater Photographer of the Year twice.

See also "Peter Scoones, Legendary Underwater Cameraman" by Imran Hasshmi and Gillian McDonald.

TV Credits

Planet Earth ( 2006 / Released ): Photography

Golden Seals of the Skeleton Coast ( 2001 / Released ): Photography

Greatest Wildlife Show on Earth ( 2000 / Released ): Photography

Humpback Whales ( 2000 / Released ): Photography

Otters -- In the Stream of Life ( 2000 / Released ): Photography

Warnings From the Wild ( 2000 / Released ): Photography

Battle of the Sexes ( 1999 / Released ): Photography

Wild Indonesia ( 1999 / Released ): Photography

Crocodiles! ( 1998 / Released ): Photography

India: Land of the Tiger ( 1998 / Released ): Cinematographer

In the Wild ( 1995 / Released ): Photography

The Great White Shark ( 1995 / Released ): Photography

Antarctica: Life in the Freezer ( 1994 / Released ): Camera

Lifeforce ( 1992 / Released ): Photography

The Trials of Life ( 1991 / Released ): Camera


Earth - (Cinematographer/2009/Lensing/Awaiting Release)

Deep Blue - (Cinematographer/2005)

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