By Jack Williams

This underwater photographer’s fascinating body of work brings to life some of the more unique behaviors of the animals of the deep.


Marty Snyderman has dedicated his professional life to documenting such creatures – including those that clean other fish; guard fertilized eggs in their mouths; and “fish” for their dinner using a natural worm or fish-like lure on the end of a spine that is like a fishing rod that are parts of their bodies.

In order to find such intriguing creatures, Marty, 67, said, a lot of discussion must first take place – be it between himself and fishermen, scientists, photographers, or even local diving instructors.

When shooting his works, the photographer aims to move within one or two feet of the subject whenever possible, and six to eight feet at the most – something he admits can be tricky, given the sensitivity of the fish, whales, manta rays and other subjects.


Marty, from Solana Beach, California, USA, said: “Being in the ocean, it’s kind of like playing a chess game with animals.

“You hope you recognize them… But then how do you get close enough to capture that?

“That’s a great challenge.”

Marty’s interest in marine life stems from a fishing trip when he was 10, where he witnessed a group of fishermen kill a shark. (Correct?)

From that uncomfortable moment, Marty said, he looked to experience – and later document – the more beautiful, positive and fascinating side of underwater life.


After first working as a diving instructor in San Diego in the 1970s, his passion for the water then evolved towards taking images of sea creatures, too.

Marty said: “I’m an animal geek more than a photographer.

“As people get to being adults, we stop looking at bugs, butterflies, and birds, but I stuck down in the dirt and kept doing it.

“I was intrigued by it all – the mystery of it.

“What’s down in the ocean is what’s in my blood.”