Swim Library

Kelly Kirlin Photography

Choosing a career in underwater photography is a little like deciding to become an astronaut.

Kelly and her son Henry. Photo by Chiara  Salomoni 2014

Kelly and her son Henry. Photo by Chiara  Salomoni 2014

It sounds crazy and maybe even impossible, but photography opens a door to another world so captivating you can't help but be drawn to it.

I created Kelly Kirlin Photography and I started shooting in the water long before it became popular in advertising, editorial and sports photography. Back then, underwater portraiture was uncharted territory. It demanded creative problem solving and careful planning, a totally trustworthy team and a complete comfort going places where others don't dare. Only a handful of us pioneered the art, pushing the boundaries of photography in the one place on earth where you can feel weightless, suspended, held.

The water called to me.

During my first open water dive in the Caribbean, with just the bubbling sound of my regulator and the steady rhythm of my breath 80 feet below the surface, I felt completely free. I twisted and turned, dove for the bottom and arched to the sun. I watched light refract through the waves. At that moment, I fell in love with the underwater world.

The water had chosen me.

I followed the current and studied biology in my undergrad, receiving a second degree in fine art. Always itching to capture the beauty of the coral reefs we studied, I realized I could marry my long love for photography and the underwater world. So after graduation I packed my bags for California to attend Brooks Institute, the only photographic school in the world that teaches underwater photography. My parents put on brave faces and hoped for the best.

Ten years later and my passion has only deepened. My creativity, technical abilities, and complete ease in the water inspire trust in my clients which allows them to relax, experiment and play. The photos we make always surprise me in their joyfulness, spontaneity and arresting beauty.

That's the magic of the water.

Join me below the surface and see what happens when you free yourself to do something extraordinary.


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