By Jack Williams
This intrepid cave photographer often finds himself between a rock and a hard place, squeezing into some of the world’s most beautiful and often unphotographed caves.
Chris Higgins, from Knoxville, Tennessee, spends his time on caving expeditions that have taken him to Europe and all across the Americas.
The photographer’s images capture the gigantic scale of some of these hidden wonders, as well as the extreme measures he and his team must go to in order to discover and document such locations.
The 29-year-old argues that cave photography is the most difficult subset of the genre, because as well as carrying heavy loads of gear, he must also climb vertical pitches, abseil, and often work in total darkness.
Chris said: “A lot of the time we don’t fully know what a room looks like until we take a photo.
“Our lights will only let us see a small piece at a time but once it is lit with flashes we can see the whole room at once.
“Imagine leaving the day light with a 50-pound pack heading deep underground with everything you need to camp for seven days and all of your photo gear.
“Just remember what goes down must come up.”
By living in Tennessee, Chris has access to more than 10,000 caves that are all within a two-hour drive of his house.
In the past, his work has also taken him to the likes of the Bahamas, Peru, Greece and, most recently, Mexico.
Growing up with a father who was also a caver, Chris said he spend every weekend as a youngster crawling around in local caves.
Today, however, he likes to go further afield; the aim of his work, he said, is to showcase places that have never been seen.
He hopes his work will encourage others to adventure into the unknown, and also highlight the importance of such fragile environments.
Chris said: “I’m always in search of the biggest and deepest caves.
“For one I like the personal challenge of reaching the limits of a cave but I also enjoy the struggle of dragging my camera gear to those limits.
“I like to pick caves that have never been photographed because even though all caves look similar they are all very different.”