Sophie de Wilde: Photographer of the underwater beauty

In com­mem­o­ra­tion of the first under­wa­ter pho­tog­ra­pher woman

The under­wa­ter pho­tographs on this web­site were taken by Sophie de Wilde. It has been ten years already since her beloved sea betrayed her. And yet it seems like yes­ter­day. She met with her tragic des­tiny off Mar­seille, in the depths of the Grand Con­floué, in an acci­dent which is still unex­plained. A memo­r­ial plaque was placed under­wa­ter by her friend divers on which is engraved a quo­ta­tion from Oscar Wilde which seems to have been writ­ten just for her: «On ne voit bien la vie que lorsqu’on en voit la beauté [We can­not see life in a sat­is­fac­tory way if we do not see its beauty]». Sophie took pho­tographs of the under­wa­ter beau­ties all around the world from the Irish Sea to the Coral Sea, from the Red Sea to the Tas­man Sea, from the Caribbean Sea to the Falk­lands Sea… For twenty years, she scoured the Pacific, the Atlantic, the Indian Oceans but she kept return­ing to her pre­ferred place, where Com­man­der Jacques Cousteau taught her div­ing, the Mediter­ranean Sea which engulfed her so bru­tally. Sophie de Wilde pub­lished numer­ous books with her mar­vel­lous writ­ing com­pan­ion Yves Pac­calet. She wrote many arti­cles and put on sev­eral exhi­bi­tions. She was inter­viewed on the radio and appeared on tele­vi­sion on a reg­u­lar basis. But most impor­tantly, she gained a fol­low­ing. Her vision of the sea, respect­ful, intimist and metic­u­lous was an inspi­ra­tion to many pho­tog­ra­phers. How­ever, her pho­tos have remained unequalled. For she had a trained eye, a very par­tic­u­lar way of look­ing at things that had been moulded by her art stud­ies and her job as artis­tic direc­tor. With kind­ness and deter­mi­na­tion, she had man­aged to open the door to a world which had to date been mostly a man’s world. As the first female pro­fes­sional under­wa­ter pho­tog­ra­pher, she has become a leg­end in her field. Not only was Sophie my wife but also my ally, my accom­plice. We often trav­elled together, laughed, sang and cried together. Today, on the anniver­sary date of her birth, some incom­pa­ra­ble albums, count­less pho­tos are left. But most impor­tantly, there remains the feel­ing of hav­ing loved and trans­mit­ted this love, the incom­pa­ra­ble feel­ing of hav­ing lived. more Sophie’s photos

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