Eyes Into Secret Seas by Jeffrey L Rotman
Eyes Into Secret Seas by Jeffrey L Rotman

Underwater photography seems such a capricious thing to do. To spend a lot of money on photography kit, cart it around the world and then jump off a boat into the ocean with it, always thinking you can get that elusive shot which no-one else has managed to capture.
     There are few female photographers. By and large, women are far too sensible. But, driven by ego as we men are, many of us still do it.
     Its pure vanity. But if there is vanity photography, it is superseded by vanity publishing. And its in this world that most books of underwater photography are sourced.
     Just as many underwater photographers will happily forego a fee to see their pictures reproduced in magazines, there is a small elite group who will pay a fortune to see their work gather dust on the remaindered shelf of some bookstore. It would be churlish of us not to support their efforts.
     Eyes Into Secret Seas by Jeffrey Rotman has the look of such a project. Stunningly reproduced on the highest quality paper, it would grace anyones collection of such coffee-table volumes. More than 200 pages of finely crafted colour plates feel lush to the touch.
     Its a pity the photographs are fairly ordinary macro shots of regularly observed subjects. Its a collection of extreme close-ups and the vivid spectrum of colours usually found therein. None is much beyond the reach of anyone armed with a modern electronic 35mm camera in a suitable housing, a macro lens and a flashgun, and prepared to travel a little.
     Stop! What am I saying That kit will set you back at least £3000, not counting the endless rolls of film wasted, and for that money you can buy a lot of books.
     Well done, Mr Rotman! And well done all you other photographers willing to invest your time and money for our pleasure.
     I can imagine long winter evenings poring over this volume with my friends while saying: Ive seen that. Ive got a photo of one of those. You get a lot around Hurghada, Sipadan, Bonaire, Porto Fino... and so on. Then again, if you know a publisher willing to stump up the money, Ive got some great shots...
John Bantin

Eyes Into Secret Seas by Jeffrey L Rotman (White Star, 01202 649930). Hardback, 208pp, £29.95