Friday, January 27, 2012

"Our World - Underwater" 2012 is on the Horizon

By Canon Explorer of Light, Stephen Frink

Every year during the gray days of Chicago's winter, diving enthusiasts make their way to the Windy City for "Our World - Underwater."  I first discovered OW-U last year, just in time to attend the 2011 exhibition.  Even though I had never been there before (nor had ever actually been diving), I felt like I had come home.

Growing up in a small Midwest town, I was always flipping through adventure magazines and reading novels by Clive Cussler and John D. MacDonald.  The exciting pictures and cover art drew me in, but it was the stories I found inside that really hooked me.  I knew I had to become a part of that world.

When I attended OW-U, I was in heaven looking at prints of images that had captivated me for the majority of my life.  It's one thing to stare at magazine pages and dream, but it was an entirely different experience to meet the people behind those images and hear their stories first-hand.  To make it even better, it was without a doubt the friendliest place I've ever been.  Presenters and patrons alike were super chill and eager to swap stories and offer advice to newbies like me. People I had never heard of became rock stars in my eyes.  Stan Waterman, Ernie Brooks II, Paul Cater Deaton, and Michel Gilbert & Daniella Alary - they all had amazing experiences to share and gorgeous photographs to back up their (sometimes "delightfully unbelievable") adventures.  Once again I was drawn in by the beauty and stayed for the story.  It was a nice cycle.

The 2012 "Our Word - Underwater" expo takes place February 17th - February 19th.  Even though I still haven't had the opportunity to learn how to dive and the last time I went swimming in the ocean was almost 5 years ago, you can rest assured that I'll be there again.  Some of the highlights I'm looking forward to are new films by Paul Cater Deaton, the Saturday night film festival with Ernie Brooks II as the emcee, a photography seminar by Stephen Frink (Canon Explorer of Light), and of course - anything dealing with sharks, underwater archaeology, and boat drinks in the sun.

With a lot of learning and a little patience, I know that someday I'll get to share my own images and adventures with a newly-addicted up-and-comer like myself.  After all, exploring and inspiring others to explore is exactly why I got into film and photography in the first place.  It's my way to say "thanks" and continue that cycle which helped me grow as a person and discover who I am.

Hope to see you there,

For more information on OW-U, go to

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