Martin Edge: Diver who wrote the u/w photographer’s bible

Martin Edge, who has died this month
Photographer and author Martin Edge, who has died this month

Last Updated on June 5, 2024 by Divernet

For nearly 40 years, countless divers have developed their image-making skills using diver Martin Edge’s ground-breaking book The Underwater Photographer as their go-to guide. The highly regarded author died on 3 June, aged 69.

There have been five editions of his classic book, which successfully bridged the transition from film to digital photography with its third and then fourth editions in 2005 and 2009 respectively.

The book kept expanding in the hands of a diver who was always open to trying out new ideas, making him an acknowledged master of the subject. Edge’s fascination with the possibilities offered by innovative techniques was clear in his work – and many divers were fortunate in learning directly from him through his classes.

Born and raised well inland in Leek, Staffordshire in May 1955, Edge joined the police when he was 19. In 1977 he and his wife Sylvia – they had married the previous year – moved to Poole on the south coast when he joined Dorset Police as a detective. Located by the sea, they soon had their first taste of diving, which left them keen enough to join their local scuba club.

A fellow-diver in the police force taught Edge the basics of underwater photography, which he practised successfully on his first dive-trip abroad, to Menorca.

At the Brighton Underwater Film Festival in 1983, Edge enjoyed his first taste of competition success with an image of a shrimp in an anemone, and started meeting well-known practitioners who, thanks to his police background, he was never afraid to grill for insights into how they achieved their best work. He was particularly inspired by such image-makers as Peter Rowlands, Peter Scoones and Mike Valentine. 

That same year he joined the British Society of Underwater Photographers (BSoUP) and was named its Best Beginner in 1985. Around this time Edge and Jim Eldridge produced highly acclaimed multi-projector audio-visual presentations of his photography from the Red Sea in Sea Of Dreams and, from the Maldives, Imaginations.

He had also started to run one-to-one underwater photography courses and workshops, assisted by Sylvia Edge, his regular underwater model. Fellow-photographer Alex Mustard has described him as a “teaching sensation – the man was addicted to it, a natural-born coach”.

The Underwater Photographer

The first edition of The Underwater Photographer appeared in 1996 and introduced Edge’s “Think and Consider” photographic concept to divers. Before its publication, underwater photography books had been “dominated by gear and, if you were lucky, some comments on settings,” says Mustard.

Edge liked to present all the options divers might care to consider but also to offer guidance by including his personal recommendations. The fifth and final edition of the book came out in 2020 and, like its predecessors, was packed with new elements, tricks and tips.

“Martin helped the world take sharper, clearer, cleaner, more colourful and, above all, more compelling underwater photographs,” says Mustard, who for six years presented two-man u/w photography shows to packed audiences side by side with Edge. “Throughout our community, almost everyone will have a well-thumbed edition of The Underwater Photographer and will have benefitted from Martin’s insight. 

“Indeed, Martin’s ideas and explanations have become so much a part of underwater photography that they are repeated in almost every article written on the topic, as simply the way it is done.”

Martin Edge gives a presentation with Alex Mustard (Saeed Rashid)
Martin Edge gives a presentation with Alex Mustard (Saeed Rashid)

“He remained addicted to learning and never considered himself the expert… The underwater photography community holds Martin in the highest esteem, yet he remained genuinely humble about his massive contribution and his fabulous pictures.”

Underwater Photographer of the Year

When Mustard relaunched the Underwater Photographer of the Year (UPY) contest in 2014, he says that choosing Edge as one of the three judges with Rowlands and himself was “a no-brainer”. 

“His loss must be devastating for his loving family, but he also leaves a permanent hole in the fabric of underwater photography. He’ll be missed by all who met him, because Martin only made friends.” 

Martin Edge 'brought on more underwater photographers than almost anyone'
Martin Edge ‘brought on more underwater photographers than almost anyone’ – Peter Rowlands

A full appreciation of Edge by Alex Mustard will appear in the next edition of Scuba Diver. The magazine’s editorial director Mark Evans says he has “great memories” of the almost-20 years during which Edge was his regular photo-columnist for the preceding monthly title, Sport Diver.

“A consummate gentleman, Martin was quick to offer helpful hints and advice, and his book adorns the shelves of many of today’s leading underwater photographers,” he says.

WHAT OTHER LEADING U/W PHOTOGRAPHERS TOLD DIVERNET:

Alex Tattersall

“Martin Edge was among the most selfless and kind people I have met in the world of underwater photography and diving. He delighted not only in pioneering technical and artistic practice, but also in helping his students improve and develop.

“He took great pleasure in their successes and enjoyment as they grew in their own photography and would always be supportive of their growth.

Martin Edge with Alex Tattersall (Saeed Rashid)
Martin Edge with Alex Tattersall (Saeed Rashid)

“His big-hearted influence in mentoring all aspects of underwater photography has been felt throughout the globe, throughout the whole community; and those who were able to spend time with him will know and feel how privileged they have been.

“Martin certainly changed my life for the better and I will, as will our community, miss him very dearly. His teachings however will continue to live on through both his seminal books and his passionate students; his wonderful smile and kind, wise words will never be forgotten.”

Saeed Rashid

“Like many others, Martin’s incredible book was one of my first introductions to underwater  photography. I read this amazing encyclopaedia of knowledge from cover to cover many times, and it inspired me to take ever-better pictures. 

“Little did I know at the time that Martin lived just down the road from me and, years later, I would have the honour of sharing the stage with him, helping to inspire others to capture great photos.

“I have many happy memories of my time working together with Martin, from being stuck for hours in a flood while trying to get to our talk at the Dive Show, to debating the proper use of equipment. 

“One of the funniest memories is when he joined me and the late Nigel Wade on stage. Nigel and I were always trying to make each other laugh and never took our talks as seriously as Martin did. So much so that once we were being so childish that Martin actually had to take us aside and say to us: ‘Look guys underwater photography is a serious matter and you shouldn’t clown around like this.’

“Being an ex-policeman, Martin had his telling-off voice down to a T, and our next talk together Nigel and I would be like naughty school-children, desperately trying not to crack up laughing, to which Martin just rolled his eyes. But he did, of course, find the funny side of it in private over a drink.

Martin Edge shares the stage with ‘naughty school-children' Saeed Rashid and Nigel Wade
Martin Edge shares the stage with ‘naughty school-children’ Saeed Rashid and Nigel Wade

“A couple of years ago, Martin asked me to take over his very successful underwater baby-photography business. Like many aspects of his second career as a photographer, Martin was a pioneer with these kinds of images, and there are hundreds of very happy parents who still have his photographs hung on their walls. 

“After my first session in the pool, Martin gave me some tips to refine my own images and then said to me: ‘I have definitely left all of the future babies in good hands, thank you, Saeed.’ No, thank you, Martin, you are a true legend and it just goes to show that, sometimes, you really should meet your heroes.”

Peter Rowlands

“Through his books, workshops, one-to-one teachings and talks, Martin must have brought on more underwater photographers than almost anyone. Martin was an excellent image-maker in his own right; he was also able to impart, enthuse and empower old and young alike.

“He had the ability to debunk the technicalities which so many newcomers were daunted by and build their confidence to think more about their images rather than worry too much about the science. It was for this reason that he was so inspirational to so many and many of those have gone on to great success in underwater photography competitions.

Martin & Sylvia Edge
Martin & Sylvia Edge

“It was as UPY judges that Alex Mustard had the idea to put Martin and I together in one room for a couple of intense but immensely enjoyable days judging the images for the Underwater Photographer of the Year Competition each year.

“Here we had the chance to talk about our favourite subject – other people’s underwater images – because as men of a certain age smelted in the film era we had nothing to prove and everything to enjoy.

“They were some of my most enjoyable days because of him. My condolences to his wife Sylvia and family; he will be greatly missed in the underwater world but his legacy will last and help fill the void.”

Also on Divernet: SHARKS’ SKYLIGHT BRINGS UPY VICTORY, SHARK-HUNT SHOT WINS UPY TITLE 2019, AND THE WINNERS ARE, DANCING OCTO WINS BARATHIEU UPY TITLE

This week, it looks like DPV manufacturer ScubaJet has begun insolvency proceedings. PADI has distributed half a million dollars in their Project Aware campaign. Dorset coastguard have called off the search for a missing diver. And the Pearl Fleet has commented on a viral video of a shark-dive that didn’t go so well
https://taucher.net/diveinside-insolvency_proceedings_at_scubajet-kaz9246
https://divernet.com/scuba-news/conservation/padi-aware-distributes-500k-in-mission-hub-grants/
https://www.scubadivermag.com/raid-launches-ots-full-face-mask-programme/
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https://divernet.com/scuba-news/health-safety/search-for-diver-off-dorset-stood-down/
https://divernet.com/scuba-news/health-safety/pearl-fleet-hits-back-as-maldives-shark-dive-slammed/
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The information in this video is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional SCUBA Training. All content, including text, graphics, images, and information, contained in this video is for general information purposes only and does not replace training from a qualified Dive Instructor.

This week, it looks like DPV manufacturer ScubaJet has begun insolvency proceedings. PADI has distributed half a million dollars in their Project Aware campaign. Dorset coastguard have called off the search for a missing diver. And the Pearl Fleet has commented on a viral video of a shark-dive that didn’t go so well
https://taucher.net/diveinside-insolvency_proceedings_at_scubajet-kaz9246
https://divernet.com/scuba-news/conservation/padi-aware-distributes-500k-in-mission-hub-grants/
https://www.scubadivermag.com/raid-launches-ots-full-face-mask-programme/
https://www.scubadivermag.com/dorset-coastguard-call-off-search-for-diver/
https://divernet.com/scuba-news/health-safety/search-for-diver-off-dorset-stood-down/
https://divernet.com/scuba-news/health-safety/pearl-fleet-hits-back-as-maldives-shark-dive-slammed/
Diving Into The Darkness Link:
https://www.scubadivermag.com/affiliate/mzsd


Become a fan: https://www.scubadivermag.com/join
Gear Purchases: https://www.scubadivermag.com/affiliate/dive-gear
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The information in this video is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional SCUBA Training. All content, including text, graphics, images, and information, contained in this video is for general information purposes only and does not replace training from a qualified Dive Instructor.

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Sharks and Yum Yum Yellow. What are your thoughts? #askmark
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@preethasebastian8921
Sharks and Yum Yum Yellow. What are your thoughts? #askmark
#scuba #scubadiving #scubadiver
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#AskMark hi! I was hoping you could help me understand the interchangeability of a DSMB and a simple SMB if I only plan to use it when I deploy it during my safety stop at 5 meters. I used the simple version for this purpose during my last liveaboard and despite occasionally having to reinflate at the surface due to some air escaping while being deployed underwater, it didn’t seem to be too problematic and so I was wondering if it’s necessary to have a DSMB for this purpose? The issue for me is that somehow I tend to end up misplacing my SMB quite often and so the price difference between the two makes it a more acceptable loss when it’s replacing the SMB regularly rather than the DSMB at double the cost
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The information in this video is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional SCUBA Training. All content, including text, graphics, images, and information, contained in this video is for general information purposes only and does not replace training from a qualified Dive Instructor.

Diving Into The Darkness Website:
https://www.scubadivermag.com/affiliate/mzsd

@emilyZA460
#AskMark hi! I was hoping you could help me understand the interchangeability of a DSMB and a simple SMB if I only plan to use it when I deploy it during my safety stop at 5 meters. I used the simple version for this purpose during my last liveaboard and despite occasionally having to reinflate at the surface due to some air escaping while being deployed underwater, it didn’t seem to be too problematic and so I was wondering if it’s necessary to have a DSMB for this purpose? The issue for me is that somehow I tend to end up misplacing my SMB quite often and so the price difference between the two makes it a more acceptable loss when it’s replacing the SMB regularly rather than the DSMB at double the cost
#scuba #scubadiving #scubadiver
LINKS

Become a fan: https://www.scubadivermag.com/join
Gear Purchases: https://www.scubadivermag.com/affiliate/dive-gear
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
OUR WEBSITES

Website: https://www.scubadivermag.com ➡️ Scuba Diving, Underwater Photography, Hints & Advice, Scuba Gear Reviews
Website: https://www.divernet.com ➡️ Scuba News, Underwater Photography, Hints & Advice, Travel Reports
Website: https://www.godivingshow.com ➡️ The Only Dive Show in the United Kingdom
Website: https://www.rorkmedia.com ➡️ For advertising within our brands
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We partner with https://www.scuba.com and https://www.mikesdivestore.com for all your gear essentials. Consider using the affiliate link above to support the channel.

The information in this video is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional SCUBA Training. All content, including text, graphics, images, and information, contained in this video is for general information purposes only and does not replace training from a qualified Dive Instructor.

YouTube Video UEw2X2VCMS1KYWdWbXFQSGV1YW84WVRHb2pFNkl3WlRSZS4yOUY5MUNBMTM5RDMyREQ5

What's the Point of Fancy dSMBs? #askmark #scuba

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