DugongA wild dugong named Nicky lost his family and befriended humans near Mantanani, Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia.
Since 1997, Hong Kong-born Stephen Wong has been a full-time marine photojournalist. His images have been published in more than 100 individual journals and publications spanning 20 countries, including Ocean Realm, National Geographic, BBC Wildlife, GEO and, yes, Sport Diver and Sport Diver Asia Pacific.
Famous for his work in wide-angle, Stephen has also co-authored coffee-table books Sipadan-Mabul Islands, Celebrate the Sea, An Ocean Odyssey and Gorontalo Hidden Paradise. He lives in Hong Kong with his equally talented underwater photographer wife, Takako Uno.
We caught up recently with one of the friendliest and most low-key photographers in the world, and asked Stephen a few questions.
What motivates your underwater photography?
I cannot remember a time in my life when I wasn’t interested in the ocean and, more specifically, marine life. The opportunity to breathe underwater and interact with the environment shouldn’t be overlooked by any diver. I believe all scuba divers have a responsibility to inform the general public of the plight our oceans face. I hope in some way that my images can help people to learn how delicate and precious the oceans’ creatures are, and subsequently influence the types of changes necessary to save them for future generations.
What are your favourite subjects to shoot?
Anything, but as my eyes are getting worse [wink wink], it’s much easier to shoot wide-angle and big animals. But gobies remain a favourite photo subject.
Which is your favourite destination?
Each spot has its own uniqueness so it’s tough to choose just one destination. For macro, I would say the Indo-Pacific has a higher chance of encountering more species. For cetaceans, probably Portugal. For visibility and larger sharks, I favour the Caribbean and I love the Maldives for manta rays.
Where’s your next trip?
I’m doing back-to-back trips to Komodo, Indonesia, in August.
Do you have a favourite photo you’ve taken?
There isn’t one, truthfully. I do have a few shots I like, but the better (or best) shot is still out there waiting for me to capture.
Whose photography do you like?
For macro, I like William Tan, Yoshi Hirata, Indra Swari, my wife Takako and so many more. For megafauna, I like Doug Perrine, Douglas Seifert, Brandon Cole and Kelvin Aitken. Aaron Wong is superb with lighting and modelling. My overall favourites are David Doubilet, Yusuke Yoshino, Steve Lu, Mirko Zanni, Eric Cheng and Tony Wu. These and many others have inspired me through the years.
See more of Stephen’s work at stephenwong.com.