No 4 “Back to Schools” July 07 2015
Cover by Henry Jager
FROM THE EDITORS
We’re getting back to the schools with this issue, discovering the places where our fishy friends gather in jaw-dropping numbers, where the seas are swarming with scales, where the ocean’s inhabitants create choreographed congregations, and dizzying droves put on dazzling displays.
It seems obvious now, but when I first processed this next bit of information the implications of it blew my mind: When fish create those rippling, shifting schools, each fish is actually behaving in entirely its own interest – according to the research, each one is supposedly entirely unaware of the bigger picture: They apparently have no idea at all of the patterns they are creating.
Yes, those seemingly choreographed displays are what they call “emergent properties” of individuals selfishly following basic rules for their own individual survival. And we see evidence of this same principle everywhere.
This is synchrony, a fundamental force that creates simultaneous action. And it’s one of the most pervasive drivers in all of Nature.
So why is this fact so revelatory? Well it seems to imply that there is an underlying order, and that even when the world can seem too complex and chaotic to understand, perhaps that’s only because we are on the inside of a great “school” looking out.
But that’s enough philosophy for one issue; this one’s about schools, not school, after all…
Alice Grainger (Editor)
In Through The Lens, our core objective is that you, the reader, learn about underwater photography in a way that will help you improve your own images. And like any good education, that includes some history as well as some practical advice.
In this “Back to School” issue we hope you gain some context about the world of underwater photography through an interview with one of its pioneers, Burt Jones, in “Interview with a Pro” (pg. 68). We also want you to improve your photography by adding some techniques to your arsenal, whether it’s basic wide angle photography with a humble compact camera (pg. 74), creating images of animal behaviour (pg. 78), or shooting complex compositions of giant schools of fish (pg. 82).
Of course, we’re all still learning, so if you don’t get it exactly right “in camera”, Erin Quigley’s Image Lab (pg.90) offers some simple fixes. So, open your books, class is about to start…
Matt Weiss (Editor)